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Purchased by the Hammill Missior.ary Fund. 

BV 3503 .R62 1892 
Robertson, William. 
The martyrs of Blantyre 













Srronti <!rliition 









QTijis 3LittIe Book 



This book is issued as a simple memorial of three 
devoted lives. Those whose story it tells were 
"Martyrs," not in the sense of having been slain for 
the truth, but in the no less real sense of being 
Witnesses for the testimony of Jesus Christ, who, with 
unswerving courage and devotion, laid down their lives 
in the African mission-field. The aim of the book 
is to give, in a short simple sketch, such a glimpse of 
them and their work as will convey to the reader some 
idea of what manner of men they were and what kind 
of work they did foi Africa. It is not in any sense a 
complete biography of any of them, nor does it touch 
at all on questions of either Mission or State policy. 
Every eflfort has been made, however, to secure that it 
should be reliable, and all the information contained 
in it accurate and up to date. 

If it should be the means of helping any one to a 
clearer appreciation of what life in the African mission- 

viii PREFACE. 

field is, or of begetting in any heart a deeper sympathy 
with those who are labouring there, it will have served 
its purpose. 

I desire to record loy thanks to the many friends, 
both here and in Africa, to whose kindness I have 
been indebted for help in its preparation and for the 
perusal of letters and other sources of information, 
Acknowledgment is also due to the representatives 
of The Mission Record and the Foreign Mission Com- 
mittee for the facilities and assistance which they have 
cordially afforded me. 

May God use the story of those who now rest from 
their labours to inspire others to a like faith with 

Edinbubgh. February 1892. 



I. Introduction • . 1 1 

II. The Prayer of the Dead Livingstone and its 

Answer . 17 

III. Blantyre 35 

IV. Henry Henderson, the Pionker . . • • 53 
V. Dr. John Bowie, Medical Missionary . . 75 

VI. Robert Cleland, the Missionary of Milanje . 103 
VII. Conclusion 139 


I. Staff of thk Blantyre Mission . . .147 
II. Minute op General Assembly on the Deaths 

OF Missionaries at Blantyre . . . 148 


New Church, Blantyre Frontispiece 

An African Home Page 39 

Manganja and Yao ,,50 

Portraits of Mr. and Mrs. HENCERbON . • ,, 55 

Portrait of Dr. Bowie ,,77 

Portrait of the Rev. Eobert Cleland . . :• 105 

Chart of Shir6 Highlands showing the Mission 
Stations of the Church of Scotland, by the Rev. 
A. Hetherwick, F.R.G.S at end 





The eyes of the world are on Africa at present. One 
cannot take up a newspaper without finding the 
Dark Continent, in one or other of its great regions, 
— Northern, Southern, Central, — claiming attention by 
the doings of the explorer, the soldier, the politician, 
or the missionary. Every now and again a quiver of 
interest thrills through the Cabinets of Europe at the 
surgings to and fro in the great scramble for Africa ; 
while, on the other hand, the inrush of European life 
— English, German, Portuguese — with its diverse in- 
fiuences, and the formation of great chartered com- 
panies, all eager to colonise, to claim, to annex, is stirring 
the stagnant pool of African life. The evolutions are 
rapid, and almost before the world has had time to 
take in the situation which one ferment has produced 
the state of things has changed and another has begun. 
Struggle and death, prospect and progress, initial defeat 
and final triumph, follow each other in rapid succes- 
sion. The expectation of yesterday is realised to-day 
and to-morrow is left behind. The map of Africa is 


changing so quickly that the geographer has a liard 
time keeping it up to date, and the public can 
hardly find leisure to make and keep themselves 
familiar with it. 

In that swift rush the changes are so many and the 
events so important, that we are apt to lose sight of 
the men whose courage and devotion are achieving 
these results. Once in a while a Stanley, a Gordon, or 
a Hannington rivets public attention for a moment 
and becomes known to the world. But of the larcje 
number of devoted men and women whose life and 
labours have gone to the making of Africa, only a very 
few are, to most people, anything more than mere 
names. Yet never to have had even if it were but a 
glimpse of such lives is to miss a great deal that helps 
one to understand Africa and the problems it presents. 

This is emphatically true of those who have laboured 
and died in the mission-field, and nowhere is it more 
strikingly true than in that part of Central Africa 
opened up by the explorations of Livingstone, and 
which is now being won for Christianity by those who 
have followed in his footsteps. To know them and 
their work brings one into touch, not only with the 
progress of civilisation, but with the coming of the 
kingdom of God there. 

Among the many followers of Livingstone the three 
whose story this little book tells were men that were 
"worth the knowing," and many considerations make 
it fitting that the three lives should be linked together. 


They were all Scotchmen. They were all sons of tlie 
University of Edinburgh. They were all in the service 
of the Church of Scotland's Mission at Blantyre, in 
the Shir^ Hills, and so were intimate personal friends. 
One was a pioneer missionary, one a medical missionary, 
and one an ordained minister of Jesus Christ ; but all 
three were men of the Livingstone type, unwavering 
in determination, unfailing in their faith in God, and 
unwearying in their devotion to Africa and their love 
for the African. A further and sad link of association 
is found in the fact that they fell almost together in 
swift succession. Although, by the goodness of God, 
the Blantyre Mission during its fifteen years of brave 
and trying work had never been called to mourn a man 
taken from its staff by death, yet within three short 
months (November 1890 to February 1891) these three 
— first Cleland, then Bowie, then Henderson — were 
each laid in an African grave; while Mrs. Henderson 
and their only child were also taken at the same 
time. It was a dark, sad time, and in its sorrowful 
remembrance the three names will be linked together. 
They did not fall by the spear or assegai of the 
savage, yet none the less truly did each of them, with 
a devotion which regarded not himself, lay down his 
life a witness for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Each life 
had its own story, and it has been thought best to tell 
each by itself It is believed, too, that the story of the 
lives will be more sympathetically read if their environ- 
ment is understood ; and therefore we give a short 

t6 introduction. 

sketch of the great cause in which they enlisted, — the 
cause of Christian Missions in East Central Africa, — 
with a more particular account of the Mission at 
Blantyre, to the building up of which they gave 
their labours and their lives. 


EJe praurr of tjje ©eatr lEi^mofStone antr 
its ^nstofr» 



Every one reraembei-s how, on May Day 1873, in a 

poor grass hut at Ilala, on the shores of Lake Bang- 

weolo, the dead Livingstone was found kneeling by 

his bed in the attitude of prayer. In loneliness and 

weakness, wasted by sickness and weary with many 

wanderings, he had died as he had lived — praying, — and 

on the breath of that last prayer the weary spirit had 

gone home to God. It was a sight to touch men's 

hearts ; but there, in the lonely African forest, there 

was no white man to look on it or to tell the world 

what it was. Only the dark African saw it, and 

though he bowed reverently before it, what was he 

that he should be able to catch the spirit of that 

scene or interpret it for the strange world without? 

Yet the silent prayer of those cold lips, the pathetic 

appeal of that pale face buried in the folded hands, 

spoke with a voice that would not be silent, and with 

a power that would not be repressed until it had not 

only reached the ear of God, but moved the hearts of 

men to the uttermost ends of the earth. Wave upon 



wave, in ever-widening circles, the voice of that prayer 
was borne till from all Christendom there came an 
answer to its cry. The cold lips were now dumb, but 
the prayer of the life spoke instead till men could not 
help but hear. That poor kneeling form seemed the 
very embodiment of all the prayers, the expression of 
all the labours of the devoted life which had been poured 
out, a sacrifice for Africa. It seemed to pour a spirit 
of burning fire into many a prayer that he had offered 
and many an appeal that he had made while he was 
here, till they came back and scorched the hearts that 
had been deaf to them before. " May the blessing of 
God rest," those lips had once said, and now the spent 
life seemed to echo it — " May the blessing of God rest 
on the man, be he Englishman or American or Turk, 
who will heal this open sore of the world." " I have 
opened the door," the living voice had said to the 
students at Cambridge, and now the voice of the dead 
seemed to repeat it — " I have opened the door : see 
that you let no man shut it ! " 

How the cry of that finished life was borne from 
land to land ! First the dark Makololo heard it as 
they looked into the empty hut, and it caught them 
like a spell. Under its influence they tenderly lifted 
the body of their dead leader and bore it through 
countless miles of forest to the sea-coast, and thence 
across the sea, till they saw it laid with the honoured 
dead of his own land. But they did more, else -the 
voice of the dead had lost half its power. They 


gathered together with afi'ectionate carefulness all 
those note-books and papers of which he had taken 
such care, and at which they had so often seen him 
writing laboriously when head and hand were alike 
weary ; and with such scrupulous care did they carry 
them to England that, when they were opened and 
examined, it was found that the papers presented a 
continuous narrative of seven years' exploration and 
experience without a single h7'eak, — not one entry being 
lost or one word destroyed! One hardly knows 
whether most to admire the faithfulness or to marvel 
at the feat. Surely God had designed that the appeal 
of the dead Livingstone should not be silenced, even 
by death in the solitude of the African forest. 

Then Europe and America heard, and stood still a 
moment to listen, as to a cry for help. That cry awoke 
in the heart of civilization feelings of indignant shame 
that the horrible trade in human flesh should be allowed 
to continue after Livingstone had shown it up and died 
to destroy it. Once awakened, civilization called for 
more light and fuller knowledge of ''that unknown 
land," and time and again the explorer went forth 
to search its depths and bring back such knowledge 
of it as could be gathered. Stanley, Thomson, 
Cameron, Keith Johnstone, Wissmann, and other 
travellers followed each other in rapid succession, till 
by-and-by the woi'ld began to know something of the 
land and the people that were enshrined in the prayer 
of the dead Livingstone. 


But, — most momentous of all, — that cry awoke the 
Church of God. At sound of it men caught the glow 
of the Livingstone spirit — that spirit which he had 
caught from a Greater than himself — and a desire 
arose to enter this land of suffering and blood, to 
cleanse it of its horrors and claim it and its people 
for the living Christ. As with one impulse, the hearts 
of men in different branches of the Christian Church 
were moved to send to its down-trodden races the glad 
tidings of salvation, liberty to the captives, and joy to 
the oppressed. In the words of Livingstone himself, 
" the end of the geographical feat was the beginning 
of missionary enterprise." The dreams of one period 
became the realities of the next. The vision that had 
cheered the weary steps of the great explorer began 
almost at once to be realised. He had tracked the 
path of the Arab caravan along the great slave-route 
from Zanzibar into the interior, and again up the great 
waterway of Central Africa by the Zambezi and the 
Shire, through the Shire Hills to Lake Shirwa, and 
over the tableland to Lake Nyasa, and everywhere 
along both routes he saw the slaver's trail. Every- 
where he saw the villainous Arab march inland in 
quest of ivory, provoking war, burning villages, scatter- 
ing slaughter and ruin among the natives, and then 
return with his capture of ivory and his gang of slaves, 
who had to drag their way through such unspeakable 
suffering and horrors that only one out of every ten of 
them ever reached the coast to be sold and shipped off, 


although a British Consul at Zanzibar has stated that 
no fewer than 19,000 slaves are exported annually 
from that part of Africa alone. It made him heart-sore 
to see, as he said, "strings of wretched slaves yoked 
together in their heavy slave-sticks, some carrying 
ivory, others copper, or food for the march ; whilst 
hope and fear, misery and villainy, may be read off on 
the various faces that pass in line out of this country, 
like a serpent dragging its accursed folds away from 
the victim it has paralysed with its fangs." Then he 
prayed for a time when along that same route there 
would flow from a Christian world without, into the 
heart of that Dark Continent, thus cursed with sin 
and suffering, a stream of life bearing the light of God 
and the blessings of Christianity. He knew that that 
time would come, and that it could only come through 
a great uprising of missionai-y devotion, and he prayed 
for that. Now, when his eye was not there to see nor 
his hand to welcome it, the answer to his prayer came. 
As you have seen star after star break through the dark- 
ness of an autumn night, so did Mission after Mission 
appear shining out in that African darkness, each 
star a little world of life and love, — each a Bethlehem 
star telling by its light that the Redeemer had come. 
Entering from the east coast and moving up that great 
waterway which he himself had discovered, the rising 
tide of the new life began to flow, bearing on its bosom 
God's answer to his prayers. 

The first to come was The Universities' Mission. Like 


au evening star shining faintly before the sunset, it 
came before Livingstone had died, but it was the first- 
fruits of his labours. So far back as 1857 he had, 
when in England, addressed a crowded meeting of 
students at Cambridge, and in closing an impassioned 
appeal to them he said, " I go back to Africa to try to 
make an open path for commerce and Christianity. Do 
you carry out the work which I have begun. I leave 
IT WITH YOU." The response to that appeal was the 
combination of the universities of England and Ireland 
for the formation and support of a Universities' Mission 
to Central Africa, and the despatch in October i860 of 
a Mission party, under the direction of a Scotchman, 
Bishop Mackenzie, who was accompanied by two 
clergymen and the now famous Horace Waller, after- 
wards editor of Livingstone's last Journals — not then, 
however, in Holy Orders, but acting as a lay super- 

Their instructions being to establish a Mission " in 
the footsteps of Livingstone," the party settled at 
Magomero, near Lake Shirwa, among the Manganja 
people dwelling on the hills to the east of the River 
Shir^. The sad story of this Mission, its misfortunes, 
and the circumstances which led to its withdi'awal after 
the death of Bishop Mackenzie, who died of fever at a 
place near the mouth of the Ruo, two hundred miles 
inland, have already been told. It had to retire from 
the Shire region, transferring the sphere of its opera- 
tions to Zanzibar, but it left behind it as one of the 


landmarks pointing the way, the grave of Bishop 
Mackenzie, with a rough iron cross which Livingstone 
afterwards planted over it, and the memory among the 
natives of a brave and good man, whom they remem- 
bered as "Muntu oa nkoma ntima" — a man, of a sweet 

In more recent days the Universities Mission has 
again worked its way, by a succession of mission- 
stations, from Zanzibar northward to Usambara on 
the one hand, and on the other along the line of the 
Kovuma westward to those Shir^ Hills and Nyasaland, 
one of its most interesting and active stations being 
on Likoma Island in Lake Nyasa, a centre from which, 
by iheans of its missionary steamer, the Charles Janson, 
it carries the light to various places along the shore 
of the lake ; while the repeated journeys of Bishop 
Smythies over the wide tract of country placed under 
his care, and the devoted labours of such men as Arch- 
deacon Maples, the Rev. W. P. Johnson, and other 
members of the Mission staff, are fast kindling the light 
of God in the heart of that land of darkness. 

But the early days of this Mission were before the 
Church had awakened at the news of Livingstone's 
death. When that came men's hearts were stirred, 
and his own countrymen especially felt that it would 
be shame indeed upon them if that opened door were 
DOW allowed to be closed. Accordingly, almost simul- 
taneously there arose in all the Presbyterian Churches 
of Scotland a movement in favour of orofanisinsr a 


missionary invasion of East Central Africa, with the 
Zambezi and Shire as its ronte, and Lake Nyasa and the 
Shiru Highlands as the field of its conquest. The enter- 
prise of the Free Church led the way ; the Church of 
Scotland, inspired by the zeal of the late Dr. Macrae 
of Hawick, cordially joined; and the African experi- 
ence of Dr. Stewart of Lovedale gave practical direc- 
tion to the movement. A pioneer expedition composed 
of representatives of the different Churches, under the 
command of Mr. E. D. Young, R.N., was despatched 
in 1875, the representative of the Church of Scotland 
being Henry Henderson. The story of its experiences 
will be found in another chapter. 

Out of this expedition two Missions grew. At Cape 
Maclear, on the shore of Lake Nyasa, is Zivinffstonia, 
one of the Missions of the Free Church of Scotland, in 
the working of which the United Presbyterian Church 
and the Reformed Dutch Church of South Africa also 
share. It was founded in 1876 by the Rev. Dr. 
Stewart of Lovedale, who, on returning to his work 
at Lovedale in 1877, placed it under the charge of 
Dr. Robert Laws, its present head, and the only 
member of the original pioneering band now remaining 
in Africa. Under his able administration, and by the 
indefatigable efforts of him and his colleagues, it has 
grown up, a bright spot amidst the dark life along the 
margin of the lake, a centre of Christian civilization, 
where not only the church and the school, but well- 
built houses, well-tilled gardens, and a quiet and in- 


dustrious people, bear witness tliat the reign of peace 
and goodwill has begun and the kingdom of God has 

This, however, has not been achieved without struggle 
and death — struggle, not with the native tribes, but 
with the more deadly malaria which haunts the banks 
of the river and the fever-swept shores of the lake. 
How terrible that struggle has been is graphically 
presented by Professor Drummond, when he thus de- 
scribes a visit he paid to it five years ago : — 

" It was a brilliant summer morning when the Ilala 
steamed into Lake Nyasa, and in a few hours we were 
at anchor in the little bay at Livingston ia. My first 
impressions of this famous mission-station certainly 
will never be forgotten. Magnificent mountains of 
granite, green to the summit with forest, encircled it, 
and on the silver sand of a still smaller bay stood the 
small row of trim white cottages. A neat path through 
a small garden led up to the settlement, and I ap- 
proached the largest house and entered. It was the 
Livingstonia Manse — the head missionary's house. It 
was spotlessly clean ; English furniture was in the 
room, a medicine-chesfc, familiar-looking dishes were 
in the cupboards, books lying about, but there was no 
missionary in it. I went to the next house. It was 
the school ; the bench es were there and the black- 
board, but there were no scholars and no teacher. I 
passed to the next. It was the blacksmith's shop ; 
there were the tools and the anvil, but there was no 


blacksmith. And so on to the next and the next, all 
in perfect order, and all cnij^ti/. Then a native ap- 
proached and led me a few yards into the forest ; and 
there, among the mimosa-trees, under a huge granite 
mountain, were four or five graves. These were the 
missionaries'. I spent a day or two in the solemn 
shadow of that deserted manse. It is one of the 
loveliest spots in the world ; and it was hard to believe, 
sitting under the tamarind-trees by the quiet lake- 
shore, that the pestilence which walketh at midnight 
had made this beautiful spot its home." 

That was the battle-day. The losses were heavy, 
men's hearts were tried, but the little band were not 
dismayed, and this star of Christian promise was not 
quenched. The station was not deserted, but the 
missionary centre had by that time been moved from 
Cape Maclear to Bandawe, 150 miles northward, on 
the same lake-coast, but somewhat higher up the hill, 
where the brave missionaries beofan their task again, 
the old station being worked by native agents and 
visited from time to time. Here and at other points 
along the lake, though often harassed and hindered 
by native wars and political turmoil, Dr. Laws and 
his fellow-missionaries have by much patient labour 
built up a noble Mission, industrial, medical, educa- 
tional, and evangelistic, and are year by year giving 
to Africa more and more fully that for which Living- 
stone hoped and prayed. 

Two or three days' journey to the south of Lake 


Nyasa lies the mountainous district called by Living- 
stone the Manganja Highlands, but better known by 
its more recent name of the Shir^ Highlands. These 
highlands lie to the east of the Cataracts of the Shire 
and extend for a considerable distance inland, the 
ground rising in a succession of terraces. On the third 
of these terraces, on a breezy upland about 3000 feet 
above the level of the sea, stands the other Mission 
which grew out of Captain Young's pioneering expedi- 
tion. This is JBlantyre, the African Mission of the 
Church of Scotland. This is the Mission to the build- 
ing up of which the three brave missionaries whose 
story it is the purpose of this little book to tell gave 
their lives. It may help, therefore, to a clearer appre- 
ciation of their work if some slight description of it 
and its work is given, but this must be reserved to a 
separate chapter. It may not, however, be out of place 
here to quote regarding it also the impression formed 
by Professor Drummond during his visit to Africa. 
Speaking of it he says : — 

" Towards sunset the following evening our caravan 
filed into Blantyre. On the beauty and interest of this 
ideal Mission I shall not dwell. But if any one wishes 
to find out what can be done by broad and practical 
missionary methods, let him visit the Rev. D. Clement 
Scott and his friends at Blantyre. ... I will say 
of the Livingstonia missionaries and of the Blantyre 
missionaries, and count it an honour to say it, that 
they ai"e brave, efficient, single-hearted men, who need 


our sympathy more than we know, and are equally 
above our criticism and our praise." 

Since these words were written three of those brave, 
single-hearted men have laid down their lives in the 
work. Here also the Church has come in answer to 
the appeal of Livingstone's life, and truly the print of 
her footsteps has been the graves of her sons. 

Close by Blantyre and Livingstonia, and working 
with them in the interests of Christianity, though not 
directly part of the Church's missionary organisation, 
are two Scottish ti'ading companies, 7'he African Lalccs 
Company and Buchanan Brothers. The former is a 
trading and carrying company, formed in 1878 with 
the distinct object of carrying out Livingstone's idea of 
opening up and developing the regions of East Central 
Africa from the Zambezi to Tanganyika, making em- 
ployments for the natives and substituting for the 
horrible trade by which ivory was formerly brought to 
the coast a legitimate trade conducted in a Christian 
spirit, excluding rum and, so far as possible, gunpowder, 
and strengthening by all its influence the hands of the 
missionary. This company, whose representatives in 
Africa are Messrs. John and Fred. ]\Ioir, two young 
Scotchmen, have established stations at various points 
along the route, and placed steamers both on the 
Shire and on Lake Nyasa, their principal station 
being Mandala (which in the native tongue means 
"•glass"), a place within a mile of Blantyre, and so 
named by the natives with a reference to the spectacles 


of Mr. Jolin Moir as the distinguishing feature of the 
place ! 

The Messrs. Buchanan are three brothers — also 
Scotchmen — who have cojBFee and sugar plantations at 
Mlungusi, on the slopes of Mount Zomba, about forty- 
miles from Blantyre, and who have been the chief 
agents in developing the coffee industry in Africa. 
Besides giving work, with its civilising influences, to 
a large number of natives, this station forms a centre 
at which missionary work may be carried on by means 
of regular Sunday services and a school for the chil- 
dren. Thus are both these companies pouring their 
influence into the stream of new life that is flowing in 
for the Christianising of Africa, and are to be num- 
bered among the missionary stars that are already 
brightening the African night. Two new stars, also, 
have been lately kindled in the north of Nyasa- 
land, which though as yet faint will by and by 
brighten the glow of missionary light. Recognising 
their national responsibility to the peoples of that 
region now placed under the German Empire, the 
Moravian Brethren and the Berlin Evangelical Society 
of the L^itheran Church have each sent out a little 
band of eight missionaries — the earnest of more to 
follow — whose sphere of work is to be in Gerinan 
East Africa, at the north end of Lake Nyasa. 

Still more recently another Scottish Presbyterian 
Mission of a singularly interesting character has been 
sent out, promoted mainly by members of the British 


East African Company, altliongh not directly con- 
nected with the Company. On the 6th July 1891, 
a party of six missionaries — including doctor, teachers 
and artisans — set out under the leadership of Dr. 
Stewart of Lovedale, who has done so much for 
Africa. Already they have reached the Kibwezi 
Piiver, — a tributary of the Sabaki — a place about 1 50 
miles inland from Mombasa, and here it is proposed 
to establish a ]\[ission, industrial, educational, evan- 
gelistic and medical. An interesting feature which 
links this with the early days of African Missions is 
the fact that Dr. Stewart, its leader, was Livingstone's 
companion in travel ; Sir William M'Kinnon, its chair- 
man, is one wliose well-known philanthropic efforts 
on behalf of Africa owe their inspiration to his regard 
for Livingstone ; Mr. A. L. Bruce, its Honorary 
Secretary and Treasurer, is the son-in-law of Living- 
stone; and Dr. Robert U. Moffat, its medical oflScer, 
is the grandson of Dr. Moffat, the veteran African 
missionary. As we write, tidings have just arrived of 
the death of one of the members of its staflf — Mr. 
John Greig, superintendent of its industrial depart- 
ment, — so that here also, as in so many other cases, the 
land has been claimed by a grave. 

Were we to reach forth a little from this heart of 
Nyasaland we should find ever as we journeyed new 
stars gleaming through the darkness. North of Lake 
Nyasa a lofty plateau, cool and healthy, extends for 
250 miles to Lake Tanganyika, whose mighty waters 


stretch for 450 miles farther; and beyond that lies the 
route to the Victoria Nyanza and the Albert Nyanza. 
Were we to climb to this plateau we should not only 
be iu touch with all those great lakes, but near us 
would be the watershed of the mighty Congo. The 
very mention of these names recalls to our thoughts 
memories of missionary enterprises glimmering away 
in the distance like far-off stars in the murky night. 

First, like a bright forelight, is the Mission planted 
on Lake Tanganyika by the London Missionary Society — 
the Society, it will be remembered, which sent Living- 
stone to Africa at the first. Looking towards it, we 
recall its story of struggle and trial since the days 
when, in August 1878, the leader of its first expedi- 
tion, the Rev. J. B. Thomson, after sixteen weary 
months of travelling, reached Ujiji, to spend only 
one short month in the field of his choice ere he was 
laid in his African grave ; to be followed only too 
soon (the next year) by the Rev. A. W. Dodgshun, 
who also died at Ujiji seven days after his arrival ; 
and Dr. Mullens, the devoted secretary of the Society, 
who died while yet only on his way thither. Since 
that time its chief centre has been removed to Kavala, 
on the other shore of Lake Tanganyika, where, with 
the aid of their missionary steamer on the lake, these 
direct followers of Livingstone are, with life and labour, 
following up his work. 

Beyond that is the field occupied by the Church 
Missionary Society^ lyiiig towards the Victoria Nyanza, 


briprht with the names and work of such men as 
liishops Hannington and Parker, Dr. John Smith, 
and Mackay of Uganda, and many anotlier faithful 
witness and martyr who sealed his testimony with 
his blood. Facing westward, and looking away far 
beyond what eye can reach along the line of the 
Congo, our eyes are towards a region where missionary 
enthusiasm has multiplied martyrs with a determina- 
tion and devotion that to some have seemed almost 
reckless. Thus does a chain of graves stretch over the 
land, all brightened with the glow of consecrated lives 
and martyr deaths, and telling at what a cost the 
Church of Christ has gone forth to the redemption of 
Africa, answering the appeal which she heard from the 
lips of the dead Livingstone. 

And although we do not attempt to trace the poli- 
tical developments through which it has been brought 
about, we cannot but remember, and thank God at 
the remembrance, that after sixteen years' delay — years 
wherein the missionary and the Christian trader have 
been preparing the way for it — Nyasaland has become 
British Central Africa, and now from the Zambezi to 
Tanganyika the flag of Britain waves over the land in 
the midst of which the heart of Livingstone is buried, 
so that in this also the day which he longed to see has 





Blantyke is the first white settlement which the 
traveller meets in East Central Africa. It is the one 
star which the Church of Scotland has kindled in the 
firmament of African Missions in memory of Living- 
stone, and it was so named after the far-away Lanark- 
shire village in which he was born. It lies in the 
heart of the Shire Highlands, and to reach it the 
traveller enters Africa from the east coast, sailing up 
the Zambezi and Shire. By the recent discovery of the 
channel through the Chinde mouth, the Zambezi has be- 
come an open highway from the ocean, and the tedious 
delays hitherto occasioned by having to land everything 
and everybody at Quilimane, sail up the Kwakwa, and 
then carry overland to the Zambezi will in the near 
future be avoided. After sailing up the Zambezi for 
about a hundred miles the traveller comes upon a river 
which twists away northwards among the mountains. 
This is the Shir^ one of the tributaries of the Zambezi ; 
but being narrower and deeper in its channel, the tribu- 
tary is a better stream for navigation than the main 
river itself. Continuing his journey up the Shire for- 


a distance of some i6o miles, the traveller reaches a 
place called Katungas, so named as having been the 
village of Katunga, a Makololo chief, who had formerly 
been one of Livingstone's men, and who died only quite 
recently. This is the landing-place for Blantyre, and 
here he must disembark, and leaving the river, strike 
inland, taking on foot a journey of nearly thirty miles 
steadily uphill all the way, by a hot winding road, pass- 
ing througli pleasing highland scener}', although the 
chances are that, with his hot tramp under an African 
sun, he is, — especially daring the latter part of his 
journey, — rather too tired fully to appreciate and enjoy 
the beauties of the scenery, and it is with a sense of 
thankfulness and relief that at length he finds himself 
in Blantyre. 

And now, reader, shall I try to describe for you the 
Blantyre that was or the Blantyre that is? — for indeed 
they are not the same. It is sixteen years since the 
foundations of the Mission here were laid. Such a 
period works great changes on any place. One thinks, 
for instance, of what changes the last sixteen years 
have wrought on one's own town or district. But 
by no such comparison can you form any idea of 
the changes which these same years have wrought at 
Blantyre. At home the changes wrought have been 
on the face and features of things; at Blantyre they 
have changed the very soul of the place — the habits, 
the character, the life of the people. I cannot, indeed, 
show you Blantyre " before it was made," though I 


might jDerhaps try to give you some idea of what they 
saw who came here sixteen years ago to seek a home 
for Christianity among these hills. A picturesque 
country it was into which they came, marked by hills 
and valleys, with here and there a rocky ravine, 
through which a mountain burn may be heard gurg- 
ling its way to the Shir^, while away in the distance 
great dark mountains, like the Zomba range and 
^Mount Soche and Ndirandi, each 5000 feet high, may 
be seen clear on the sky-line. 

The country is well wooded, there being wide tracts 
of forest, though the trees as a rule are not large. 
The hills are in many instances clothed to the top with 
dense " bush/' denser and darker along the lines of the 
mountain streams, as you have seen the brushwood 
marking the course of the burns on the hillsides at 
home. African villages, many and populous, are to be 
seen — not bright, tidy, home-like villages such as one 
sees dotting the landscape from a Scottish hill-top, but 
clusters of rude mud huts, hiding as it were in the 
forest, each in terror of the other, and all dreading 
the slave-raiding Arab, whose visit is ever the pre- 
cursor of scenes of cruelty and blood. 

Life in an African village is a curious kind of exist- 
ence — a sort of lazy, indifferent, amused contentment. 
The native has few wants, and is natui^ally of an 
indolent, peaceable disposition, having little to compel 
him to work. He wears next to no clothes, and his 
food is of the simplest kind. Twice a day he has a 


big feed of native porridge, made from a kind of millet- 
seed, to cultivate which only a few weeks' work in the 
year is required. The women pound it in a big kind 
of mortar, and do the cooking and other work ; while 
the men, though sometimes doing a little in the way 
of beating out bark-cloth, weaving cotton, or making 
baskets, for the most part lounge about talking and 
smoking. Were you to enter a native village you 
would probably find a man here and there sitting 
astride a log of hard wood on the village green, tap, 
tap, tapping away with his hammer, making his cloth 
from the Njombo bark, and perhaps a basketmaker 
at work at the door of his hut ; but you would most 
likely find the chief or headman stretched on the grass 
under the great council-tree of the village, with most 
of the men gathered round him, all smoking their 
bhang pipes and talking and joking away, while a 
huge pot of pomh^, standing within convenient reach, 
is appealed to from time to time as the palaver 

Periodically this easy-going life is rudely broken in 
upon by a tribal war and the unexpected attack of a 
hostile tribe, or by the incursion of the Arab slaver, 
when a fierce excitement takes possession of all and 
the air of indolent ease gives place to a scene of the 
wildest confusion. 

At the time when the pioneers of the Blantyre 
Mission appeared there were two distinct tribes of 
people in the district — the ^Manganja and the Wayao — 


speaking different languages, often at war witli one 
another and among themselves. When Livingstone's 
Expedition to the Zambezi was recalled in 1863, the 
Makololo who had accompanied him as porters and 
carriers settled down on the Shire, and soon by force 
of their determined character assumed the chieftain- 
ship over the Manganja, who were at the time in 
danger of being destroyed by the Wayao and the 
slavers. The Manganja rallied round their new chiefs, 
and by-and-by the Makololo became a power in the 
country along the river. 

It was to this tribe that Ramukukan, Katunga, 
Mulilema, and other chiefs, whose names are now 
familiar in connection with places in the country, be- 
longed, while among the Wayao, chiefs like Kapeni 
and Malunga were able to hold their own. Besides 
these two tribes, however, another people, wild and 
war-like, dwelt in the hill-country away to the north- 
west beyond the Shir^. These were the Angoni, and 
from time to time they came down in fierce raids and 
swept across both the Yao and the JManganja, who 
lived in terror of them and fled from their villages at 
the rumour of their approach. Many a bloody war 
and blackened stretch of country testified to the fierce 
character of these Angoni chiefs and their warriors 
when on the war-path. 

This, then, was the country and such were the 
people to whom the Scottish missionaries came in 
1875. This is Blantyre as it was before it was Blan- 


tyre ! I shall not attempt to describe for you in detail 
the work which the missionaries did in those early 
days — how, when sick and weary with their journey 
up the river, they began to clear and level a site for a 
mission-station, and to erect dwellings for themselves, 
houses of bamboos and grass and mud, which they 
were to try in future to call by the name of home ! — 
how they overcame the prejudices and secured the 
confidence of the natives, and induced them by the 
offer of yards of calico as payment to come and join 
them in learning to work and to continue at work. 
This they did with such success that it was not long 
till every Monday morning saw a crowd of both men 
and women waiting eager to be hired for work in lay- 
ing out the station, making roads, building houses 
preparing the garden, hoeing the fields. A series of 
terraces was made. Water was brought a distance of 
two miles, and irrigation made easy — an invaluable 
element in the development of Blantyre. In conjunc- 
tion with the Livingstonia Mission, a road was surveyed 
and made from the station southwards to Ramukukan's, 
at the foot of the cataracts on the river, a distance 
of some thirty miles, and another of greater length 
northward to the Upper Shire. 

I cannot wait to speak as I should like of the first 
experiments in gardening and agriculture, the sowing 
of various seeds, and the patient waiting to see whether 
anything would grow, and if so, what. Very interest- 
ing, too, is the story of four little slips which Mr. 


Duncan, the gardener, took out with him from the 
Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh — one tea and three 
coffee plants. If these would grow, how much it 
might mean for the new country ! Carefully they were 
tended, and anxiously watched and watered ; and we 
can understand with what feelings those who watched 
them saw first one, then another, then another of them 
die. Only one little tiny struggling slip was left, and 
it looked as if it were to die too ; but it didn't — it 
lived ; and that one little slip has grown into the coffee 
plantations, not only of the Mission at Blantyre, but of 
Buchanan Brothers at Zomba, of the African Lakes Com- 
pany at Mandala, and of Messrs. Sharrer, Duncan, and 
others, till in this year (i 891) we learn that the Messrs. 
Buchanan have in their plantations alone 1,000,000 
coffee-plants, and that the highest price quoted in the 
London market for the season has been for this very 
Shire Highland coffee ! That little tiny slip, so feeble- 
looking, and once so nearly dead, yet so marvellously 
fruitful, is a fit emblem of the Mission itself. 

I cannot wait, either, to speak of the ]}ersonnel of 
the Mission — of the brave men and women by whose 
life and labour it has been built up. Henry Henderson, 
as has been said, was its pioneer and guide. In its 
earliest days the Free Church missionaries at Living- 
stonia lent it valuable aid. Dr. Stewart visitino- it 
in 1877, and during a stay of three months helping 
to organise the work ; while his relative, Mr. James 
Stewart, O.E., who accompanied him, directed the 


laying out of the place and the making of the road. 
The Kev. Duff Macdonald, B.D., its first ordained 
missionary, went out in 1878, Mrs. Macdonald being 
the first white woman the natives had ever seen. Dr. 
T. T. ^Macklin was its first medical missionary. Mr. 
Buchanan, now of Zomba, and Mr. Jonathan Duncan, 
the gardeners, began the work of cultivation in garden 
and field. 

Around these and their companions the natives 
gathered, settling in villages on the Mission ground. 
At the close of each day all the workers, summoned 
by a bugle-call, gathered together to listen to a Gospel 
address — "a talk about God." A school was begun 
for the boys, conducted in a little grass- roofed build- 
ing, where also every Sunday the little community 
gathered together for Christian worship. 

So the work grew and extended, additional mis- 
sionaries coming out from time to time to strengthen 
the staff. The Mission, however, was not without its 
dark days, times of trouble and anxiety, when it 
seemed as if it might even be necessary to retire 
altogether from the field so hopefully occupied. In 
1879-80 it was shaken to its very foundations by 
troubles arising out of a policy which acted on Living- 
stone's idea of regarding the Mission as u Culony as 
well as a Church, and the exercise of a jurisdiction 
based upon that idea. Very sad and trying were the 
experiences of that time, but there is no need to 
recount them here. The storm passed, the night 


wore away, and the work was not destroyed. On 
tbe contrary, the Church at home addressed herself 
anew to it in a spirit of chastened earnestness, and it 
seemed as if the sun of a new morning shone out 
when in the summer of 188 1 the Rev. David Clement 
Scott, B.D., and his brave young wife, accompanied by 
a medical missionary, went forth to gather together 
the shaken elements of the Mission, and proceed with 
the task of founding and building up in the territory 
of a native chief a Christian Church, not a British 
colony. How nobly they have discharged the trust 
committed to them no words of mine can fully tell. 

In 1884 the sky darkened again over the Mis- 
sion. Three times in succession during that year not 
only the interests of the Mission but also the lives of 
the missionaries were seriously endangered, first, by 
disturbances consequent on the murder of Chipetula, a 
Makololo chief, then through a revolt of the Machin- 
jiri against the Portuguese, and lastly by a fierce raid 
of the warlike Angoni on the Yaos and Chipetas in 
the neighbourhood of Blantyre. During this last, the 
calm courage of Mr. Scott and his wife, who, accom- 
panied by Dr. Peden, undertook a journey of three 
hundred miles to brave the fierce Angoni chief in his 
own land and in the midst of his armed warriors, so 
impressed the chief that the attack was averted and 
the raid of 4000 Angoni warriors sweeping across the 
Shire Highlands was turned aside from the villages 
around Blantyre. Since then the endurance, the re- 


sources, and the tact of the missionaries have been 
tried again and again by the political complications, 
the Arab wars, and the Portuguese difficulties which 
have so largely made up the history of these recent 
years. Often they have been for months cut off from 
all communication with the coast and with home. At 
times the difficulties of the situation have been very 
great and the strain of suspense and anxiety very 
heavy. Sorrow, too, and death have crossed their 
path, but they have never lost heart; their faith in God 
has never failed, their love for Africa has never grown 
cold, and the work of the Mission has never stood still. 
Through storm and sunshine its growth has steadily 
continued. Already new stations are beginning to 
grow up around it. At Domasi, away beyond Mount 
Zomba, near Lake Shirwa, fifty-five miles from the 
parent Mission, a new station was started some years 
ago under the charge of the Rev. Alexander Hether- 
wick, M.A., F.E.G.S. It is situated in the midst 
of the Yao tribe, and in both its methods and spirit 
is a true child of Blantyre. It has church and school, 
as well as hoeing, planting, building, &c., with which 
to train and help the natives. At Chirazulo, too, as 
will be found in the story of Robert Cleland, a new 
post has been occupied and a new centre of Christian 
life planted; while at Mount Milanji, also, the field 
has been surveyed and the land claimed by the sacri- 
fice of a life. I wish, reader, I could close this chapter 
by taking you to have one look at Blantyre as it is 


to-day, through the patient endurance and the much 
Christian labour of these sixteen years. 

Blantyre stands to-day where it did on the lofty 
plateau, but you would hardly recognise the old place. 
There now passes through it the well-made road from 
Katungas, on the river below the cataracts, to Matope 
on the Upper Shire — the route along which all who are 
bound for the great Central Lakes must pass. It thus 
occupies an important position on the direct highway 
into Central Africa, and every traveller going thither 
passes through it. Approaching it now, we pass along 
an avenue, nearly a mile in length, of tall beautiful 
Eucalyptus trees (blue gums) planted in 1879, and 
already many of them sixty feet high, with a clean, well- 
kept road between them. Passing through these we find 
ourselves in a large open square, in the centre of which 
stands a handsome church, just completed, and which 
by its beauty at once arrests the attention of the 
traveller and strikes him with astonishment. We pass 
on in the meantime, however, for we must return and 
take a leisurely view of it. On one side of the square, 
on a terraced slope, lies a garden planted with fruit- 
trees and vegetables, and bright with flowers both 
European and indigenous. Grouped around the square 
on its other sides are the school, the Manse, — with its 
thatched roof and wide verandahs, — the houses of the 
doctor and the other missionaries, the joiner's work- 
shop, the smithy, the zinc-roofed store, &c. The square 
itself is tidy and trim-looking, ornamental trees here 


and there, while the IManse garden is bright with 
geraniums, roses, dahlias, and other English flowers, 
as well as tall shrubs and gay flowering creepers. As 
we pass along, we hear the ring of the hammer on the 
anvil and the sound of the carpenter's saw and plane, 
and we learn that it is the brown Manganja hand that 
is wielding these. We see numbers of native men and 
women, clean and tidy-looking in their white calicoes, 
busy at work in the garden, or " hoeing " in the fields 
belonging to the Mission farm behind the houses. As 
we pass through the square we may take a look into 
the school. Here we find over two hundred boys and 
girls, some of them day-scholars, and others boarders 
who have been sent by their parents from villages at 
a distance, many of them being sons of chiefs. When 
one thinks that by-and-by these will be chiefs them- 
selves, one feels how important is the work of the Chris- 
tian schoolmaster here. It reminds one of Luther's 
schoolmaster lifting his hat to his boys for what they 
might one day be. We find the classes going on 
just as we see them do in a school at home. The chil- 
dren are smart and learn easily. They are taught not 
only to read and write, both in their own language and 
in English, but also grammar, history, arithmetic, &c., 
and we can see for ourselves, as we look at their copy- 
books, writing and figures that few children in our 
Scottish schools could beat. There are altogether, 
besides the European missionaries, some twenty native 
teachers; and as one looks at their brown faces and 


dark, black eyes one's tkoughts go back to the time, 
only sixteen years ago, when these young men and 
women were playing around the mud-huts of an 
African village, before Blantyre was there. What 
a change ! 

Suddenly a bugle-note rings out. It is half-past 
one ; and immediately we see, from garden and field 
and workshop and school, men, women, and children 
gather together. It is the hour for the daily midday 
service, which all the workers on the station attend. 
It is a simple native service, a hymn, a short address, 
and prayer, taken by the members of the Mission and 
by the native teachers in turn. The hours of work 
are 6 to 11 a.m. and 2 to 5 p.m., and all who come to 
work assemble daily for this service before going out 
to the work of the afternoon. In this way the gospel is 
preached to every one who comes to work in the service 
of the Mission, and some of these workers come from 
places from five to a hundred miles distant, some 
coming even from Angoniland. The other regular 
services in the Mission are, daily native service in the 
morning, and an English service every evening, besides 
the four services on Sunday. 

We cannot wait now to follow these workers as they 
disperse to their different departments of work, though 
each of these would furnish much that would interest. 
Nor can we go to the Manse to see the class for sew- 
ing, &c., which at this hour Mrs. Scott will be con- 
ducting in the verandah ; nor to the laundry to see 


how beautifully these African women and girls have 
learned to do such work as is done there. 

But we must not turn away without pausing to let 
our thoughts rest, if only for an instant, on the hand- 
some church, so striking in appearance, and which 
means so much. Standing there in the midst of the 
square, it is not only, in its elegance and beauty, the 
most striking feature in Blantyre, but it is a signal 
token of the progress of the Mission. I shall not 
attempt to describe it, with its pillars and arches and 
towers and dome, so harmonious in proportions and 
so ornate in design. The accompanying illustration 
will perhaps serve better to give some idea of it. 
The niustratcd London News, in which a picture of it 
appeared in August last, spoke of it as " an edifice 
which would be creditable to any town or city in 
Great Britain, and which is said, truly for aught we 
know, to be the handsomest church in Africa, includ- 
ing such cities as Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, and 
Durban." But to me it seems that far better than 
the beauty of the building is the testimony it bears 
to the marvellous work which, by the grace of God, 
the missionaries at Blantyre have been able to do in 
Central Africa. We have just been telling how, when 
they came to these Shire Hills, they found Yao and 
Manganja at war with one another, while the fierce 
Angoni were the terror of both. Now here is a church 
constructed entirely by native labour. Mr. Scott was 
his own architect, and with the assistance of Mr. 



M'llwain, artisan missionary, and his neighbour, Mr. 
Buchanan of Zomba, the master-builder as well ; but the 
native Africans did the work, making their own bricks, 
burning their own lime, hewing their own timber, 
and, in short, building their own church, the building 
materials, which are of the best quality, being obtained 
wholly from the district, except the glass and some 
internal fittings. Nor is this all. It occupied three 
years in building, and during that time Yao and 
Manganja and Angoni have been living and working 
and worshipping together. Together, in more senses 
than one, they have been building the Church of God. 
In the words of The Mission Record, " The brickmakers 
and bricklayers, the pointers and the carpenters, were 
Yao and Manganja men trained in the Mission. The 
hewers of wood and drawers of water were the Angoni. 
They laid aside their spears and shields for the hoe and 
the pick. Instead of plundering the native granaries, 
they carried the bricks and the mortar; instead of 
spreading the desolation of war and carrying off the 
captives to slavery, they helped to build the temple of 
the God of peace, where the slave may hear the glorious 
gospel of freedom in Christ Jesus." Truly it is the 
doing of the Lord and wondrous in our eyes. 

What a delight it would be if one could go to 
spend a Sunday in Blantyre ! How it would bring 
one into touch with the work of God if one could see 
the native congregation assemble for morning service 
in that beautiful church at 8.30, then join in the 


worship of the English congregation at eleven, visit 
the Suncla3'-school in the Manse at three, or accom- 
pany the evangelists, who at that hour go out into 
the villages round about preaching the Gospel of the 
Kingdom, and then close the day in the quiet worship 
of the evening service at half-past six. What a busy, 
worshipful, Christ-like life is theirs ! 

But what must it have been to be present at the 
service of Holy Communion on the first Sunday in 
the new church, to feel the touch of the impressive 
stillness and taste the joy of its worship, and join the 
company that sat down together at the Holy Table — 
not only the missionary and the traveller and the 
explorer and the trader, but — most blessed of all — ■ 
thirty of these native Africans, humble Christian com- 
municants in the Church of God, sitting down together 
with those who came bringing them the glad tidings 
in the fellowship of the one faith and the one Lord and 
Redeemer ! Ay ! and more also. It was for this that 
Henry Henderson, John Bowie, and Eobert Cleland 
had laboured and died. Blessed dead ! They rest 
from their labours and their works do follow them. 
Surely they too, in their glorified rest, had a share in 
the joy of that day of reaping, when the fruits of their 
toil were seen. Blessed be God for the communion of 
saints in heaven and on earth ! 


^cnrg Pfmtierscn, 





Henry Henderson was a son of the Manse, his father 
being the late Rev. Dr. Henderson of Kinclaven, in 
Perthshire, where he was born in 1843. "^^^ old 
church and Manse stand in a charming rural spot 
close by the Tay, without even a village near, so that 
his earliest impressions of God's great world were 
gathered from a beautiful picture of j&eld and wood 
and river, with the blue hills behind, — the stillness 
unbroken by the roar of the city, and God's clear sky 
undimmed by any cloud of earthly smoke. It was no 
wonder that all his life he loved to be where Nature's 
book was open to him, and that he could never feel at 
home among the restraints of city life. 

He received the godly and hardy upbringing which 
so often has made the sons of the Manse the men they 
are. His father, who was somewhat of the sterner 
type of the old school, taught his sons himself till 
they were fourteen, and then sent them off to school 
and college; but to Henry, who was the youngest, 
there was perhaps less of stern severity shown than 
to the others. Being without companions of his own 


age, he was much with his father, to whom he became 
useful in many respects. As a boy he was thoughtful 
and sagacious, and rather quaint in his ways, often 
causing amusement to the other members of the family. 
All his life he was most conscientious and rigidly 
honest, never pretending to be better than he really 
was. He was not over-fond of prolonged study, and 
was always ready to take part in outdoor occupations, 
caring little what remarks might be made about him 
provided what he was doing were necessary or useful. 
Much amusement was caused one winter, when, the 
office of beadle having become vacant — rather a de- 
spised office in those days — Harry, then a boy of 
thirteen, offered to ring the church bell and carry up 
the Bible to the pulpit, only stipulating that he should 
carry up the Bible before the people came into church. 
His offer was accepted, and for a whole winter he dis- 
charged the duty quite readily. About the same time 
one of the parish " bodies " said to him she supposed 
he would be going to be a minister, but his reply was 
prompt and characteristic. " No," he said, " I am not. 
I can't take care of my own soul, and how could I take 
care of the souls of other people ? " The same tone of 
mind and feeling continued when the time came for 
him to decide on his future career. He could not 
be induced to enter the ministry, doubting his own 
motives and dreading a responsibility so great. At 
the age of sixteen he went to the University of Edin- 
burgh, where he passed through a full Arts course 


in a manner which gave promise of useful work in any 
profession which he might have adopted. But he did 
not feel that any of the professions offered the sphere 
of service for which he was fitted. His inborn love of 
travel and adventure led him to look abroad, and ac- 
cordingly at the age of twenty, furnished with a few 
letters of introduction, he set forth to seek his for- 
tune in Queensland. He was fortunate in getting good 
situations, and for twelve years he remained in the bush, 
seeing a great deal of bush-life. If he had chosen he 
might have established his fortunes there, for his char- 
acter and powers were such that he was soon trusted, 
and offers were made to him which most men would have 
accepted, and which, in the prosperous days twenty 
years ago, would certainly have led him to wealth. At 
one time there joined him two young men from home, 
both gentlemen's sons, and perhaps it was in observing 
them that he was able clearly to study himself. Any- 
how, he soon came to feel that all of them were out of 
their proper sphere. It was not long till one of them 
returned home, and after a course of study became a 
clergyman of the Church of England. The other also 
came home, and soon after died ; while Henderson, 
having grown year by year more dissatisfied with the 
selfishness and self-seeking of a colonist's life of that 
time, felt within him a growing desire for a life in 
which he would have greater opportunities of useful- 
ness and of benefiting his fellow-creatures — for some 
form of service, if possible, in which he might help the 


spread of Christianity. In the hope of finding some 
such sphere he returned home. He again enrolled 
himself as a student in one or two of the classes 
in Edinburgh University, thinking it might possibly 
prove useful to him in some way. Here again, like 
an attractive vision, the idea of the ministry presented 
itself to him, but again harassed with doubts as to 
his fitness for it, he abandoned the idea. More than a 
year he had passed thus, hoping and waiting for some 
path of usefulness to open up to him, when one day 
in the Advocates' Library he happened to turn over 
the pages of the Missionary Record, and read of a 
proposal to organise a Mission to Central Africa as 
the Church of Scotland's memorial to Dr. Livingstone, 
and of the desire to find some one who would go as 
a pioneer to prepare the way for it. Like a flash of 
inspiration, or a voice from God, came the thought 
that here was the opportunity he had been waiting for. 
He could not be a minister, but he could be a pioneer 
missionary. He had learned what it was to "rough 
it" in the Australian bush. He could wander over 
lonely hills; he could sleep under the stars; he could 
endure hunger and fatigue, and could turn his hand 
to anything that needed to be done. Here was a 
chance of serving his Church, serving his fellow-men, 
serving Christ. He would go to Africa to open the 
way for others, and as a missionary live a Christian 
life among the heathen. God's pillar of cloud before 
him was moving forward, and he would follow it ; so 


he offered himself to the Committee of this African 
Mission, of which the late Dr. Macrae, Hawick, was 
convener, and his services were gladly accepted. The 
Foreign Mission Committee of the Free Church, largely 
inspired by the enthusiasm of the Eev. James Stewart 
(now Dr. Stewart of Lovedale), was organising an 
advance party to visit the shores of Lake Nyasa and 
select a site where a Mission party, to go out the 
following year, might take up their headquarters. No 
sooner had this been determined on than the Eeformed 
Presbyterian Church, the Church of Scotland, and 
the United Presbyterian Church all requested to be 
allowed to have a share in the movement ; and surely it 
was a token for good that the Scottish Churches could 
thus unite for such a work. The United Presbyterian 
Church, though precluded by other responsibilities 
from undertaking missionary work in Central Africa, 
generously placed at the disposal of the Free Church 
Committee, for a time at least, the services of the Rev. 
Dr. Robert Laws, a medical missionary, who had been 
intended for service in another field ; and the Church 
of Scotland, already preparing to plant a Mission in 
the neighbourhood of Lake Nyasa, requested that their 
pioneer missionary might be allowed to accompany 
the expedition and receive from it such assistance as 
it might be in the power of its members to render. 
That pioneer was Henry Henderson. Few men could 
have been found better fitted for such a work. It was 
just the kind of work in. which he had spent the last 


twelve years in the Australian bush. And yet he 
often spoke of it as a strange reversal of the kind of 
life he had at first planned out for himself. He had 
always shrunk from the idea of having to deal with 
uncivilised races. It was for that reason he had gone 
to Queensland, where there was least chance of con- 
tact with aboriginal tribes. Now he found himself 
despatched to a land where he would be plunged alone, 
perhaps for years, into the heart of the life which he 
felt would try him more than any other. How often 
do we find that that from which a man naturally 
shrinks turns out to be the calling whereunto God 
has called him ! 

The expedition, which was placed under the com- 
mand of Mr. E. D. Young, R,N., included, besides Dr. 
Laws and Mr. Henderson, a carpenter, two engineers, 
an agriculturist, and a seaman of the royal navy, eight 
good men and true, who bravely discharged the com- 
mission entrusted to them. They sailed from London 
on the 20tli May 1875, and on the 23rd July they 
cast auchor in the Kongone mouth of the Zambezi. 
The first duty enjoined on them was to launch on 
Lake Nyasa a steamer which they had brought out 
with them, built for the purpose, and named the Ilala 
after the place where Livingstone had died. They 
landed her on the beach at the Kongone mouth, 
steered her through the shallows of the Zambezi and 
the Shire, unscrewed her into eight hundred pieces 
at the Murchison Falls, and had these pieces carried 


on the heads of an army of eight hundred natives 
over a roadless track for upwards of sixty miles, not 
one single piece being wanting at the journey's end. 
There they reconstructed the steamer and launched 
her again on the Upper Shir^. It was a lovely 
morning, the 1 2th of October, when with a gentle 
breeze the Ilala rode over the swell as the great blue 
waters of Nyasa received the first steam-vessel that 
had ever entered an African lake. " God speed you," 
said Mr. Young reverently. " Amen," responded his 
companions. Then they sang a hymn together, and 
a service of devout thanksgiving was conducted on 
the deck of the little vessel. The African stillness 
was broken by a new song, even praise to our God, 
and the dream of Livingstone for the healing of Africa 
began to be a reality. Of the brave men who stood 
there that day only one — Dr. Laws of Bandawe — now 
remains in Africa, left alone since they laid Henry 
Henderson to his rest in the cemetery at Quilimane. 

In all the work of this memorable expedition 
Henderson had his full share. Six days later he was 
present when the foundations of Livingstonia, the 
station of the Free Church Mission, were laid at Cape 
Maclear; and when the work of station-building was 
fairly begun, he started, along with Dr. Laws and Mr. 
Young, on a voyage of exploration round the lake, his 
Committee's instructions to him being to proceed first 
to Lake Nyasa. The hardships and privations of that 
voyage are well told by Mr. Young in his "Journal 


of a Mission to Nyasa." The tremendous gales and 
fearful seas which they encountered justified the title 
which Livingstone had given to it, "the Lake of 
Storms." Then the vessel was small and the accom- 
modation limited. There was a narrow space between 
the gunwale of the vessel and the cabin-wall, and into 
this Henderson had to squeeze himself every night ; 
and ever afterwards, until improvements altered the 
plan of the vessel, this hole was called " Henderson's 
Coffin." Hunger, too, was added to other discomforts, 
and provisions were dealt out with a sparing hand. 
On one occasion Henderson was driven by hunger to 
barter his handkerchief at a village where they stopped 
for a mess of native porridge and rotten fish. But all 
privations were taken without complaint as part of 
the contract. His examination of the shores of the 
lake satisfied him that it was unsuitable for European 
occupation, so he resolved to turn back and explore 
the Shir(3 Highlands, the mountainous district to the 
south-east of the lake. These Livingstone had always 
praised, and thither the great traveller had himself led 
the first Central African Mission of the English Univer- 
sities. That Mission had had to be abandoned, leaving 
the graves of the noble Bishop M'Kenzie and his three 
companions ; but kindly memories of " the English " 
still lived among the native inhabitants. To that dis- 
trict Henderson accordingly turned. The Ilala brought 
him down as far as Nsapa, on the Upper Shird, and 
from there, with Tom Bokwito (a freed slave of the 


old Bishop M'Kenzie days) as his interpreter, and four 
native carriers to carry his loads, he started to explore 
the Shir^ Hills. And now he was indeed on that strange 
and lonely path which God had marked for him to be his 
own. Eound the north side of Mount Zomba he went. 
He stayed for some days with an old chief, Malemya, 
close to where Domasi Station now stands ; then he 
journeyed on to the neighbourhood of Mount Chirazulo. 
Everywhere the natives flocked to gaze upon the first 
white man they had ever seen. At jSTgludi Hill (near 
Soche) the illness of his servant kept him for ten days, 
and gave him a good opportunity of familiarising him- 
self with the district. The headman of the village sent 
him on to his chief, Kapeni, then living on the slopes 
of Mount Ndirande. Everything seemed favourable, 
and everywhere he was welcomed. Gradually but 
surely the feeling deepened on his spirit that he was 
now in the neighbourhood of the place he was in search 
of. He was on the high, healthy plateau, and yet 
within easy reach of the river, the means of com- 
munication with the coast. The natives were eager 
that the English should come to stay among them, for 
they would protect them from the marauding Angoni, 
before whose raids they had been driven to these hills. 
The natives guided him to several likely spots, and 
from these he selected two, either of which would be 
suitable. With his mind so far made up, but leaving 
the final decision till he should return with the mem- 
bers of the Mission party, whose arrival was now almost 


due, he made his way down towards the river. About 
three miles from his camp on IMount Ndirande he 
halted to lunch under the shade of a large tree on the 
banks of a stream. On the ridge above him were the 
ruins of a native village whose inhabitants had fled 
from fear of the Angoni. One solitary hut remained, 
inhabited by an old woman, whom neither the fear of 
wild beasts nor fear of the still wilder Angoni had 
been able to drive from what she called her home. 
Henderson sat there under that great tree, looking at 
this ridge and the ruined huts that crowned it. It 
was one of the two sites he had fixed on. Blantyre 
Church, schoolhouses, garden, work-shops, and coffee- 
fields crown it to-day. The wilderness and the solitary 
place are glad, and the desert rejoices and blossoms 
as the rose. 

Thus it was that Henderson chose the site of 
Blantyre, Not long ago, before the sad tidings of his 
death had come, the author of "Light in Africa" — 
himself one who had spent twelve years in an African 
mission-field — said to me, " I do not know whether 
your Church recognises her indebtedness to Henry 
Henderson or not, but even if be had done nothing 
but chosen the site of Blantyre, that itself would have 
been worthy to be a life's work." The site, in the 
opinion of all who have visited it, is singularly well 
chosen. The ground rises from the river in a succes- 
sion of terraces, and Blantyre is on the third of these, 
about 3000 feet above the sea. Gushing springs and 


flowing streams abound, the scenery is beautiful and 
picturesque, the soil is fertile, there is abundance of 
good timber, the chiefs are friendly, the people are 
willing to receive instruction, and the climate is un- 
usually healthy. In the words of Livingstone, " it 
needs no quinine." Even in presence of the recent 
melancholy events, we must not forget that the Mis- 
sion had been fifteen years there without one single 
death that could be attributed to the climate. 

Having determined on the site, Henderson took 
up his quarters in Ramukukan's village, among the 
Makololo, on the Lower Shire, to await the coming of 
the expected Mission party. And wearily he had to 
wait, day after day and week after week. The fever 
that haunts the river caught him, and for days he was 
confined to his hut, all alone in his weakness, his only 
companions his New Testament, the " Christian Year," 
and a volume of Cowper's Poems. Each day his plate 
of native porridge and beans was cooked and brought 
to him by one of the chiefs wives. Thus week after 
week passed without tidings of the expected party, till 
three months had gone. Then he borrowed a canoe 
from the chief and set off down the river in search of 
news of them. All the way to the Kongone mouth 
he went, only to spend another weary month of idle 
waiting there. He was ill ; a single tin of sardines 
was all the English food he had with him. Native 
food was scarce and dear, and his troubles threatened 
to become worse, when news came that the party had 


arrived at Quilimane, and were on their way up the 
Kwakwa to join him on the Zambezi. Great was 
their disappointment when they learned that not Lake 
Nyasa but the Shir^ Hills was to be the site of the 
future Mission. The succeeding days were days of 
trial and worry and disappointment and fever. They 
ascended the river in boats and canoes, the only means 
of communication in those days, but it was slow and 
weary work. Ultimately they reached Ramukukan's, 
and here Henderson left the others while he ascended 
the hills to make preparation for their coming in a day 
or two. Several of the half-ruined huts were repaired, 
and on the 23rd October 1876 the remainder of the 
Mission party came up, took possession and founded 
Blantyre. Once they were well settled Henderson con- 
sidered his task done and returned home for a time, 
He had found what he had been sent to seek — a site 
for a Mission. Two years later, however, saw him 
again in Africa, and, with intervals of two visits 
home and a short visit to a brother in India, he 
remained there till his death. His heart was in the 
Mission and his hand was ready to serve it. It would 
be difficult to say what was his department or what it 
was exactly that he did. He always shrank from the 
responsibility of fixed and definite work. He was no 
public speaker and did not preach, but he had a grand 
ideal of what the Mission life should be — a stooping- 
down to live a Christ-like life among the native people. 
He supplied that which is of such importance in any 


Mission, and especially in a Mission like Blantyre. He 
was always everywhere, seeing that everything and 
everybody was right. The natives called him by a 
name which meant " the man who never sleeps." If 
goods had to be brought up from the river, he would 
see about it ; if something were wanted for the school, 
or the church, or the work-shops, or the garden, or the 
cattle, Mr, Henderson was the man to look to for it. 
If a chief had to be treated with, or a village trouble 
arranged, or a gap anywhere to be filled, or an ulendo 
(a journey) undertaken, or any special work to be done 
at home in Blantyre, in the bush, or on the march, Mr. 
Henderson was always ready. It is impossible to over- 
estimate what he was to the Mission — a wise and 
judicious counsellor and an unfailing help in any time 
of need. 

The last time I saw him was in February 1888, the 
day on which, in the little Scotch church in Cale- 
donian Road, London, I married him to Miss Harriet 
Bowie, the younger sister of Mrs. D. Clement Scott. 
Oh, how proud he looked that day standing by the 
bright, brave young wife who was going to share with 
him the cares of the Mission in that African home ! 
As on a new lease of service he went forth again, the 
spirit of such willing service being abundantly shared 
by his gifted wife. Wherever they were needed, — in 
whatever part of the work they could be of most 
service, — that was where they both desired to be. 
This was the law of life for them both. And what 


a vast field of usefulness does such a readiness open 
up in a place like Blantyre, where there are so many- 
little things to be seen to that do not technically 
belong to anybody in particular, but are for the help 
and comfort of all ! 

" We have as yet made Blantyre our headquarters," 
lie wrote after returning, " contenting ourselves with 
two trips — one to Chirazulo and one to Milanje. It 
is our intention to go to Domasi soon, at least for a 
week or two, to see if we can be of use there in any 
way. I believe the place would be much benefited by 
a white woman being there, if only for the sake of the 
bachelors, who are not always able to look to their 
own comforts." They went to Domasi, and the weeks 
lengthened out into months, and the presence of the 
white woman, so" bright and capable, so thoughtful for 
every one, and so industrious and practical, came like 
a fountain of refreshing to the little community there. 
They made a trip to Milanje, where the presence of 
Mrs. Henderson was taken as a guarantee that their 
errand was a peaceful one, and they were well received 
both by the chief and his people. 

After some time they returned to Blantyre, where 
they were both greatly wanted for the ever-increas- 
ing demands of the work there. Most heartily they 
threw themselves into it, and many a graphic picture 
of life in that hive of industry came home, flashed 
in quick touches in the personal letters of the clever 
young wife. " Every one here is as busy as can be," 


she wrote. " There is endless work, and the sweating 
system is in vogue! Most of the wives in Blantyre 
will be able soon to take medals as either charwomen, 
bakers, laundresses, &c., and two of them would be 
able to qualify at once as skeletons ! You can have no 
idea of the work. It is delightful work, and we all 
enjoy it, but all the same it is very hard. . . . We 
have started 'the Blantyre Laundry,' with one customer 
to begin with. Mr. Buchanan is making a large table, 
and we hope to get lots of irons, &c., from home. We 
will not, however, enlarge our custom till Mrs. Fenwick 
returns. Wonders are going to happen then. Just 
now is the trying season of the year. Every one is 
more or less ' seedy ' except myself Mrs. Scott is too 
hard-worked, and Mrs. Tanner has been ill for weeks. 
The doctor fears she may have to go home unless she 
picks up, as we all hope she will in the cold season. 
Yet, with it all, life out here is just delightful. How 
thoroughly you would enjoy it and enter into it ! " 
Occasionally clouds of anxiety hovered over them, and 
such touches came in as, " This mail has brought us 
sad news from Uganda. We are well off here, at least 
in the meantime ; " or again, " The news from the 
river is rather disquieting again. These troubles with 
the Portuguese keep us all anxious." 

By-and-by the birth of a son brought a new joy into 
the home of the pioneer missionary and his wife, and 
very proud and happy they were in this gift of God. 
"The Boy Henderson," as they playfully called him, 


or " the Little Cardinal " (so Mr. Hetherwick entitled 
him), with his rosy, chubby cheeks and bright eyes, 
was a new centre of attraction in the little community, 
and the growth of motherhood in the young mother's 
heart seemed to deepen her affection for the little 
black children that were her special care. 

From one of her latest letters we may quote the 
following glimpse of a woman's work in the missionary 
home: — "We have a great many girls just now," she 
writes, " somewhere about sixty — fourteen of them from 
the river. Four of them arrived yesterday who had 
been away since the death of Katunga (a Makololo 
chief who had been one of Livingstone's men). We 
did not expect them back. Then, when Masea sent 
his five daughters back after the holidays, he sent five 
daughters of his different headmen along with them. 
We have great difficulty in disposing of them at night. 
In fact, we have, as it were, to pack them in at night 
and unpack them in the morning ! The dormitory is 
far too small. These girls all live in the house, and 
about twenty-five boys as well, so you may understand 
how Mr. Waddell (a visitor) thought this an interest- 
ing place. He came into contact with the children 
a great deal, for they run about the house. About a 
dozen of these girls are finished with school and do 
industrial work, most of them in the laundry, as well 
as house-work. The children are what one might 
call 'jolly,' — full of fun and brightness — that is, the 
majority of them. Never a meal passes, almost, at 


which we have not some bit of fun to tell about 

" Dressing all these children is quite a thought — 
where to get clothes for them all. The mission-boxes 
are very nice, but the clothes last no time ; the sun 
rots them, and we are continually making new gar- 
ments. Just now we have set ourselves — Mrs. Fen- 
wick, Bella (Mrs. Scott), and I — to make one shirt 
each for so many days till we get all the boys clothed. 
I have the boys in charge for dressing and washing. 
The latter is a lengthy process just at present. They 
have to be washed in hot water and carbolic and 
rubbed with sulphur ointment — treatment for an irrup- 
tion they have, I tell them, with eating too much(!), 
at which they laugh derisively. I don't think there 
could be a nicer place to work in than here." 

Thus time went on, and for nearly three years 
they laboured lovingly together, and then with almost 
tropical suddenness the shadows fell, and without a 
twilight the night came. Henderson caught fever 
when on a journey down at the river. The attack was 
pretty severe, and the malaria hung about him, but 
neither he nor his wife thought it more serious than 
the usual fever caught on the river. His wife could 
write : — " I am sorry to say Harry is not at all well. 
He looks as yellow as a leinon. Jack (Dr. Bowie) has 
given him a tonic and a bottle of port. He ought to 
take a glass and a half a day, but it is amusing to 
hear his dodges to avoid taking it : ' I think I will 


take a little milk instead,' or 'a lemon drink,' and so 
on. Jack thinks he ought to leave before the hot 
weather comes; he himself is anxious to try another 
year, I tell him people will think he is baby's great- 
grandfather. He looks about 150 years old just now! 
He is so thin, too, and yellow and shrivelled up, and 
altogether miserable. He is so different these last few 
months from what he used to be. The least thing 
tires him, even going to Mandala ; and before, he used 
never to be in, but was always walking about the 
place. Probably he will be himself soon again." Ah ! 
never again, bright young wife ! There is that coming 
which will be harder on him than the fever-fiend of 
the river, but you will not be there to see him reel 
and fall from the blow. 

By-and-by the doctor ordered him home, assuring 
him that if another attack came he could not weather 
it. With great reluctance and disappointment of heart 
they began preparations for returning home for good. 
Then came the terrible diphtheria, of which the next 
chapter tells. It took from him within ten days first 
his child, and then his wife, and then his brother-in- 
law, Dr. Bowie, and left him shattered in health and 
broken in spirit, to start for this country. Before he 
left, he slipped away alone to pay a last sad visit to 
the little cemetery where his beloved had been laid. 
It was no wonder that as he knelt by the fresh graves 
the storm of grief swayed through him like an autumn 
wind through the leafless trees. He was able, however, 


to take charge of the home-coming party during the 
journey down the river with his usual care, and he 
seemed the better for the occupation which it gave 

At Qailimane there was a short delay waiting for 
a steamer, and while there the dreaded fever came 
again. He was in the house of Mr. Boss, agent of the 
African Lakes Company, where he had every possible 
kindness; and both Dr. Henry of the Livingstonia 
Mission, who was his fellow-traveller, and the doctor 
at Quilimane, did him everything that human skill and 
care could do, but in vain. God's time was come. The 
day's toil was over, his wanderings were at an end, and 
very gently, very softly, like a little child, he literally 
fell asleep. Not a word of farewell, not a struggle, 
not even a sigh, but in the sweet peace of God the 
eyes closed and the weary traveller was at rest, the 
sorrowful spirit was comforted, the divided family 
was reunited, and were together in the heavenly 
home. Well done, good and faithful servant; enter 
thou into the joy of thy Lord ! 

They buried him in the cemetery at Quilimane, and 
thus he lies at the gateway of Nyasaland, Europe and 
Africa alike mourning his loss. Among many tokens 
of the regard in which he was held, at home as well 
as abroad, none was more touching than the graceful 
tribute which two of the Judges of the Court of 
Session in Edinburgh paid to the memory of their old 
college friend. In the Parish Church of Kinclaven, 


by the winding Tay, there may now be seen a Memorial 
Tablet bearing the following inscription : — 


Pioneer of the Church of Scotland's Mission at Blantyrc, 

in East Africa. 

Son of the hxte Rev. II. Henderson, D.D., Minister of this 


Bom at the Manse, April 14, 1843. 

Died at Quilimane, February 12, 1891. 

And there buried. 

Tliis t;iV)let was erected by his old college friends, the Right Ilonoiir- 
able J. P. B. Robertson, M.P., Lord Advocate of Scotland, and Lord 
Stornionth Darling, to commemorate in the church of his native jiarisli 
a life of enterprise, gentleness, courage, self-denial, and absolute devotion 
to the sei-vice of Almighty God. 

"If any man serve Me, him %cill My Father honour." 

— St. John xii. 26. 






The son of a much-respected citizen of Edinburgh 
(Mr. Henry Bowie, long secretary of the Philosophical 
Institution), Dr. Bowie was as truly a representative 
of the city as Henry Henderson was of the country, 
for all his life till he went to Africa he had been 
accustomed to a city life. Born in 1858, he was an 
only son, but had three sisters, two of whom (Mrs. D. 
C. Scott and Mrs. Henderson), along with himself, 
have given their lives to Africa. His first step on the 
ladder was taken when, as a little boy of five, he went 
with his two sisters to a lady's school at Wardie, 
taught by a Miss Baird, a relative of General Baird of 
Indian celebrity. Who that saw the quiet, shy little 
fellow in those days would have dreamed that a time 
would come when that boy would step aside from a 
place in the foremost rank of his profession that he 
might, Christ-like, spend and be spent for the re- 
demption of Africa ; and that one day men would hold 
their breath as they read how, away in that far-off 
land, he died for others, with the courage of a hero, 
the spirit of a martyr, and the devotion of a saint ? 


When he outgrew this school he passed through 
the High School of Edinburgh, and subsequently went 
to business, obtaining an appointment in an office 
in Leith. It is said of him as a boy that among 
strangers he was quiet and retiring, and no one who 
saw him thus would have fancied that he had any fun 
in him at all. But see him at home romping with his 
sisters and he was very different. There he was full of 
fun, — an inveterate tease to them, keeping them always 
lively, and it was no wonder that they were devoted to 
him and all their lives were proud of Jack. On leaving 
school they had sent him to business, but his heart 
was elsewhere, and he had other dreams of life. One 
day he came home, and, to his father's surprise, an- 
nounced that he had passed the medical preliminary 
examination, and begged that he might be allowed to 
become a medical student. His father, seeing how 
his heart was set on it, wisely acceded to his request, 
and he went to college, where he worked very hard 
and with great success. 

In the glimpses we get of him at this time we can 
trace a blending of qualities that afterwards made 
him what he was in Africa. He was at once the 
simple, light-hearted, child-like boy and the earnest 
and enthusiastic student. A friend and playmate of 
those days writes : — " He worked very hard, and was 
most interested and enthusiastic in his work. When 
he got any new medicine we had all to try it, and 
Harriet and I were often unwillingly made subjects 


for his experiments. I remember once, when he was 
studying the eye, we were made to stand with a full 
glare of light shining into our eyes while he ex- 
amined them through an ophthalmoscope. On another 
occasion I remember we three were alone one even- 
ing, and Jack was chasing us round the table trying 
to pour tea down our throats much against our wills. 
We had both jumped on chairs to be out of his reach, 
when the door suddenly opened and one of his fel- 
low-students was ushered in ! We all felt decidedly 
caught, and I do think Jack was a little bit ashamed." 
The youth who had called for Bowie the student had 
found Jack the boy. But even in those days, with 
all their fun and frolic, there was something about 
him that made his companions feel that Jack Bowie 
was very true, very reliable, — a fellow they could trust. 
How diligently and faithfully he worked at college is 
shown by the places he took in his classes. He was 
one of the first students of his time. Not every 
medical student can carry home a gold medal for 
Physiology, another for Natural History, and a third 
for the Practice of Medicine, besides numerous other 
honours. By force of his own ability and diligence 
he was opening out a career for himself. For a 
short time he acted as class-assistant to the Professor 
of Physiology in Edinburgh University, and then 
he proceeded to Vienna for further study, specially 
in connection with diseases of the ear and throat. 
Thereafter, when duly qualified, and with experience 


enriched by a considerable hospital practice, he went 
to London to join his brother-in-law, Dr. Potter (now 
the editor of the Hospital), in a large and lucrative 
practice. From the time he began practice it seemed 
almost as if the sense of responsibility deepened 
visibly upon him. In his unremitting devotion to his 
patients he seemed to carry about with him the burden 
of anxious cases, and a grave look often shadowed his 
bright brown eyes. He was an immense favourite 
with his patients. His quiet, thoughtful, kindly 
manner inspired confidence, and they trusted him 
implicitly. In the words of one of them, "his fine 
eyes looked at one in such a true, friendly, earnest 
way, that one felt sure this grave doctor would do all 
he could." In 1886 he married Miss Sara Hankey, 
daughter of a retired Indian officer, and in a pretty, 
bright London home they settled happily together. It 
was a time of sunshine for them — a growing practice, 
a good income, bright prospects, numerous friends, a 
happy home. It was in the midst of this sunshine 
that the call of God came. 

During a visit of Mr. and Mrs. D. Clement Scott to 
this country Dr. Bowie was brought much into contact 
with the idea of Africa's need, and he began to realise 
it. The wail of her woes sounded in his ear, and it 
went to his heart. It seemed to him that there was a 
splendid field there for medical mission work, and yet 
medical work seemed to have been rather neglected in 
all the African Missions. The thought of what such a 


one as lie might do there, with his gift of healing 
consecrated to God, took hold of him. He thought of 
the hollowness, the unreality, the hypocrisy of life as 
he could see it in the great city around him, and a 
purpose, God-begotten and God-cherished, began to 
grow in his soul. In many an earnest talk with his 
like-minded wife it was fostered. We cannot trace the 
stages of its growth — we would not if we could — but 
we can understand how deep, how real, was the con- 
viction that grew up within him that God was calling 
him to go himself; and we can praise God for the day 
when he saw his way clearly, and was able to write the 
Convener of the Church of Scotland's Foreign Mission 
Committee that he was prepared to give up all and go 
as a medical missionary to Africa, if the Committee 
would accept him. We can hardly realise what that 
sentence meant to him when he wrote it. He was no 
blind enthusiast, carried away by a dream. He knew 
quite well what he was doing and what it meant. He 
had counted the cost. The comforts of home, a devoted 
circle of friends, professional ambition, and the cer- 
tainty, humanly speaking, of wealth and position — all 
were his, and deliberately, unostentatiously, devoutly, in 
penning that sentence he laid them all as a sacrifice 
on the altar of God. Oh, how small one feels in the 
presence of such noble self-sacrifice as that ! Who of 
us is worthy to unloose the latchet of its shoes ? 

And how did the Church accept such a gift, offered 
at such a cost ? It grates upon one's feelings to have 


to record the Committee's reply, that for want of funds 
they daren't say that they would accept even such an 
oflfer as that ! But they would ask the Church ; and it 
is something to be able to tell that within a fortnight 
the Church replied by subscribing the £2600 required 
to provide for the cost of his journey out and his modest 
salary for five years, and Dr. Bowie was told that his 
noble offer of service for Africa was accepted. There 
was something very characteristic in his reply. He 
thanked the Committee for accepting him ! And he 
added, "Should it be that I go to Africa, I trust the 
Church will have no reason to regret her choice." 
Assuredly she has not, and it is some comfort to-day 
to know that never for one moment did he regret it 
either. ^ 

I cannot lead you through the experiences of the 
next two months — busy, trying months for him and 
his young wife ; the breaking up of the pretty home, 
the parting with the things that had made it so home- 
like, the preparations for their African life, the hurried 
"good-byes" to friends. Only those who have gone 
through it can know what tear-and-wear these mean to 
a human heart, and how much of it can be compressed 
into two short months. But all was accomplished, and 
they sailed from London on the 14th April 1887. As 
they were just leaving the shores of England he wrote 
Dr. M'Murtrie, the Foreign Mission Convener, a brief 
note which showed the current of his thoughts as he 
went. " There are a number of engineers on board," 


he said, " going out to Delagoa Bay to lay a railroad. 
Perhaps in a few years others may be going out to lay 
one to Blantyre ! I hope," he continues, " that by the 
time I see you again I may have done some useful 
work for the Church and for Africa." Thus, when the 
Ilawarden Castle steamed out into the open sea and 
the dark night. Jack Bowie on her deck, full of hope 
and purpose,. went forth with God. 

Of the voyage out and the journey up the river we 
have an account from his own pen. Writing of it he 
says : — " Of our voyage from London to the Cape little 
can be said, except that it was like other voyages." 
After describing Cape Town and Natal, he continues : — 
" At last we reached our seaport, Quilimane, where we 
arrived on a Sunday afternoon just as the bells were 
ringing for church. Sara (his wife) certainly was very 
glad to be finished with the sea and ships. All the 
way up the coast Sara appeared on deck as we came 
into port, and disappeared as we left port ! We were 
five or six days at Quilimane getting our boxes safely 
through the Custom House. Quilimane is a very dull 
little place, only interesting as being a fair (fair in the 
sense of just) specimen of a Portuguese settlement. 
It must once have been a place of some little impor- 
tance, or some inhabitant of it must once have had some 
energy, for it contains a church built of stones brought 
all the way from Portugal. The place is Portuguese, 
and therefore all the business is done by French, Ger- 
mans, Dutch, Scotch, and East Indians. There is not, 


SO far as I am aware, a single Portuguese house of 
business except the Custom House. 

"... From Quilimane we had to go up the 
Kwa-Kwa for about eighty miles. This river is in 
the rainy season a tributary of the Zambezi, but in 
the dry season there is a mile or two of dry land 
between them. We went up in a small, open 
boat like a good-sized ordinary pleasure-boat, with a 
small box or hut in the centre, where we lived. Our 
crew consisted of eight black 'boys' or men and a 
headman called a ' capitan.' This man was supposed 
to speak and understand English, but of course didn't, 
so we had considerable difficulty and amusement in 
making ourselves understood. The journey was really 
' roughing it.' For provision for five days we had only 
some bread, four chickens (about the size of pigeons), 
some coffee, one-pound tin of salt beef, and some water. 
Then we had to be all day and all night in our little 
rabbit-hutch, into which we could just manage to get 
our two deck-chairs (which, luckily, were comfortable 
ones), and in these we had to recline all day and sleep 
all night. Only one of us could get off the chair at a 
time, and then the unfortunate individual had to kneel 
on the floor to avoid lifting the roof off". The floor 
consisted of about eight inches interval between the 
two chairs. However, we just made a picnic of the 
thing and enjoyed ourselves. We thought had we 
been at home such a time would have been considered 
a delightful adventure, so we just made home there — 


and really the river is very picturesque at some parts. 
For the first day or day and a half the water is very 
dirty, the banks very muddy, and little to be seen save 
now and again a crocodile lazily basking in the sun ; 
but after a time the banks become well clothed with 
vegetation, the water gets clear, and every few miles 
the stream widens out into a small lake perhaps one 
or two hundred yards wide, on the shores of which 
one notices truly tropical vegetation — cocoa-nut palms, 
Palmyra palms, &c. These little lakes are very beau- 
tiful, and when the men come to them they put on a 
spurt and make the boat jump through the water, the 
men singing cheerily and not unmusically the while. 
The mode of progression is somewhat peculiar. The 
men all sit facing the bow of the boat. Each man 
has a paddle of wood shaped somewhat like a tennis- 
racquet, and about the same size. His left hand he 
places on the end of the handle, while his right grasps 
the paddle close to the blade ; then lifting the paddle 
vertically and bending forward, he plunges it into the 
water and pulls it towards him. They try to keep time 
with the pluDge, so that the eight sound as one good 

" On the third day we met a canoe coming down 
with a letter from Bella (Mrs. Scott), telling us of the 
death of Mrs. M'llwain. This was a great blow, and 
quite took away all further interest in our journey. 
The fourth evening we arrived at the end of our Kwa- 
Kwa journey, and got out of our boat (for the first time 


since getting in), and crossed to Vicentis, a few huts 
on the Zambezi, where David, Bella (Mr. and Mrs. 
Scott), and party were. Here we had to wait five days 
before the new steamer came and was ready to take us 
on board. It was a somewhat strange sensation to 
find ourselves walking out by moonlight, looking down 
from the high bank on the Zambezi, flowing smoothly 
past us — strange that it was so little strange ! People 
leave home expecting to come upon marvels, and we 
are surprised to find that the world is very much alike 
all round. You might have imagined yourself back 
two thousand years and looking down upon the Thames 
from a cluster of huts called London ! Our arrival at 
Vicentis to a small extent helped to lessen the sadden- 
ing effect of poor Mrs. M'llwain's death. We lived 
in veritable grass huts, dined in a shed, and otherwise 
rusticated. The women portion ransacked the Com- 
pany's store (the African Lakes Company have a station 
at Vicentis) to find wherewith to produce more savoury 
meals than the poor starved fowl or nkuku could 
afford. In this way they had plenty to do. At last 
the steamer was ready, — at least everything was ready 
except that some injector-pipes had to be brazed, and 
now they found they had no borax wherewith to melt 
the brass. A trifle this, one would think, but really 
a serious matter on the Zambezi, many miles from 
a borax-shop, fortunately, Sara had brought some 
borax, which she had intended for a different use, 
viz., to make my white shirts beautiful, and by much 


searching we came upon it, and handed it over to 
braze the pipes. At last everything was ready and 
everybody on board, and off we went, nobody sorry 
to leave Vicentis. We had one day and a half on the 
Zambezi, then branched off into the Shire, up which 
we journeyed for seven days, a large portion of the 
time being spent stuck fast upon sand-banks. It was 
the first trip of the steamer, and she drew more water 
than was anticipated, and the river in many parts is 
very shallow, and — what was worse — nobody seemed 
to know the channel, so we just went dodging about 
playing at blind-man's-buff, the channel being the 
object of search. An hour or so up from Vicentis we 
landed at Shupanga, and visited Mrs. Livingstone's 
and Mrs. M'llwain's graves. The large baobab-tree 
under which Dr. Livingstone buried his wife had 
fallen, its foundations eaten away by white-ants. 
They had eaten their way about five feet up the 
inside of the tree, and a high wind coming, it snapped 
in two. It is not dead, however, and is sprouting 
again in its fallen position. The whole journey was 
most picturesque. After entering the Shir^ we had 
hills on our right all the way up, the country between 
the banks and the hills being finely wooded. Of 
African monsters, we saw many dozens of hippos, a 
number of crocodiles, eight or ten elephants, many 
eagles, and some antelopes. 

" We arrived at Katunga's (our landing-place for 
Blantyre) about four in the afternoon, and at 9.30 


next morning started to walk the twenty-nine miles 
from there to Blantyre, and after undreamt-of labour 
we reached Blantyre about 8 p.m. the same night. A 
walk of twenty-nine miles all uphill under an African 
sun is a labour more enjoyed retrospectively than pro- 
spectively. It is something to have accomplished." 

Thus the party reached Blantyre, and soon they got 
settled down to life there. What a changed world 
that was in which the London doctor now found him- 
self! Everything was changed — life, surroundings, 
patients, circumstances, appliances — everything except 
the doctor himself. He was here, in dark Africa, 
the same quiet, kindly, earnest, attentive, methodical 
doctor he had been among his London patients. Very 
soon he became a central feature in the community, and 
gradually the whole life of the place, native and Euro- 
pean alike, became aglow with devotion to him, the key 
to it all being his own perfect unselfishness in his care 
for others. Eobert Cleland afterwards wrote of him : — 
" What a splendid man Dr. Bowie is ! I could trust 
my life to him in any circumstances. It is beautiful 
to see him treat the natives who come to his dispen- 
sary every morning with their complaints and sores as 
kindly and attentively as he would the best lady or 
gentleman in his practice at home." And what Cleland 
wrote everybody felt. He had at once settled down to 
regular methodical work, and very hard work it was. 
He was a diligent student, regularly devoting several 
hours a doy to study ; not only keeping himself abreast 


of the latest medical science, but keeping up his read- 
ing in Greek and German, as well as the current 
literature of the day. How he did it all, especially in 
that climate, was a marvel, for no doctor ever devoted 
himself more assiduously to his patients, whether 
black or white. A little girl in a London hospital 
once amused the nurses by giving as a message for 
the doctor : — " Please, I want the doctor to come 
and sit down and talk to me." They laughed at 
her. It was so absurd ! Yet that was exactly what 
Dr. Bowie seemed somehow to find time to do for his 
patients. One who owed much to his care and skill 
says : — " He just sat down to talk to you, and he found 
out in no time what your tastes were and what you 
cared about. He was a splendid conversationalist, and 
could talk on any subject. Then he brought you 
books, which were just of the kind to interest you. 
He was a perfect circulating library in himself, and 
his books and his talks and his care over you did 
as much for you as his drugs." No wonder that the 
doctor was a man greatly beloved. And yet, with all 
this, he found time to have leisure which he could 
spend with the boys, to their great delight and un- 
speakable good. If you had dropped into his dining- 
room of an evening, you would probably have found 
him with a great gathering of boys clustering round 
him, talking with them, playing with them in their 
simple native games, making friends with them — all 
the while winning their young hearts for God. How 


they loved those evenings ! and how they loved the 
doctor! and how he loved them! "You cannot help 
getting very fond of the natives," he wrote, " and you 
cannot help feeling that they are veritably your brother 
and sister. They are very, very human." He had a 
dispensary, which was largely attended, but it was not 
long till he found that an hospital of some sort was a 
necessity if some of his cases were to be treated suc- 
cessfully at all. With considerable difficulty he got 
it, and you and I might have smiled at it if we had 
visited it. Here is his own description of it : — 

" We have now got the hospital ready and open. It 
is a very poor place for what we understand by an 
hospital, being merely a long mud house of three 
rooms, with mud floors, and neither beds nor bedding. 
There are two windows and one door to each room, 
but in the present rather cold weather these are, in 
the patients' eyes, a most distinct disadvantage, as 
the wind blows through the many chinks with any- 
thing but pleasing sound to the scantily clothed 
inmates. However, this is but the first step towards 
an African St. Bartholomew's, and in Africa before all 
places one has to ' hasten slowly.' In addition to this 
mud hospital, we have two other houses in Blantyre 
entirely devoted to patients. When a sick person 
comes here to stay he does not come alone. With 
him comes his mother to cook for him and drive away 
the flies from his couch. With the mother come the 
father and brother, uncles and cousins, who cut wood 


for the fire, smoke, sympathise, and gossip with the 
sick man and his visitors. Most of these attendants 
sleep in the same room as the patients, and this very 
soon fills up a small hospital. It would be very diffi- 
cult to prevent these people coming and staying, even 
if we wished to do so, which at present we do not, 
as we have not yet got an hospital staff to attend to 
the many needs of the inmates. The question of 
food is rather a troublesome one, and I think we 
will soon have to get a regular hospital kitchen and 
cooks. At present any food except the ordinary 
native food (which the relatives, if there are any, 
provide) has to come from our own tables, and our 
own house-boys have decided and very proper objec- 
tions to all the soup being portioned to these sick 
people, and all the fowls to those. We are exceedingly 
anxious to encourage sick people to come and stay 
here, as it is by far the best, and indeed the only 
really good, method of treatment. AVe are succeeding 
in our endeavour beyond our hope, and — what is 
serious — sometimes beyond our means. 

" The first patient in our new hospital was a Man- 
dala boy. A gun which he was loading went off and 
shattered his hand terribly. We had to amputate half 
his hand, but hope to save a useful thumb and fore- 
finger. He is just a boy, perhaps eighteen years old. 
For the first two or three days he did nothing but 
sit rocking himself to and fro, crying for his mother. 
Now his mother has come, and he is happy." 


I wish I could take you round and show you some 
of his cases, A curious variety you would find them 
— wounds, bites, burns, sores, besides diseases of all 
kinds. One case which he had very early on his 
hands — before he got his hospital — had a peculiar 
interest at the time, and has a still more pathetic 
interest now. At the very time when all Europe was 
thrilled with interest as the most eminent surgeons 
performed tracheotomy on the Emperor of Germany, 
Dr. Bowie was performing the same operation on a 
poor black African woman at Blantyre, and watching 
with no less solicitude the results of the operation. 
She had all but died from a cancerous growth in the 
throat, when the doctor said that if this were tried 
she might probably live for a year or so longer, and 
both she and her friends were willing that it should 
be done — no small tribute to their confidence iu 
the doctor, for the African sorely dreads the knife. 
With deft and skilful hand the operation was per- 
formed and the tube inserted. Soon strength returned, 
and for twelve months the poor old woman went about 
breathing through the tube, a marvel to herself and 
to every one else. Lut a year soon sped, the num- 
bered months came to an end, and we find the 
doctor writing : — 

" I very much fear our old tracheotomy patient will 
not live long. It is now just about a year since the 
operation was performed, and until the last fortnight 
or three weeks the old woman was very comfortable 


and well, and able to go about and find for herself. . . . 
But now she is unable to do anything — even to walk. 
She lies day and night on a mat in the old store, with 
all her worldly goods arranged around her. These 
consist of, first and foremost, her fire, which out here 
is very often a distinct possession. . . . Around the 
fire are placed her other goods, a native earthenware 
pot full of water, with, floating on the top of it, her 
drinking-cup, a small hollowed-out gourd, and a small 
basket in which she keeps the food she is unable to eat. 
" To a casual observer our old patient would appear 
a most wretched, dirty, ugly creature. She is old, 
shrivelled, and wrinkled, her face deformed by the once 
ornamental scars, her upper lip huge and pendulous, 
and more disfigured by the hole in which, before her 
operation, she carried a large pelele ring. In addition 
she has a cataract in her left eye, and when she looks 
up to you the greyish-green colour of the pupil gives 
her almost an uncanny look. And yet beneath all this 
there is a fine human being, and even her face becomes 
noble to those who have watched her in her long 
illness. She has struggled bravely on, never complain- 
ing, and always most grateful for any attention paid 
her. Now, poor woman ! she is very weak and tired, 
and has quite lost heart. The other morning, when 
Nacho and I were down cleaning her tracheotomy tube 
(this has, of course, to be done daily), she managed to 
whisper to me, ' Come to me in the forenoon ; I want 
to say something to you.' I asked, ' Can't you say it 


now ? ' ' Too many people,' she said. There were two 
or three other patients close by. We came back again 
at the time she wanted, and the old woman whispered 
to me, ' I. am very tired ; will you give me some 
medicine to make me die ?' It is very sad to see her 
lying patiently serving her time, especially as nothing 
can be done to ease her in any way. She has plenty 
of food, stewed fowls, brandy, milk, and eggs, but she 
cannot manage to eat much. Her swallowing is very 
difficult, I fear from extension of the cancer." 

This was the way he thought of his patients. So I 
might take you to many a one to whom he was as 
an angel of mercy sent from God, — to many a one who, 
humanly speaking, owed his or her life to the skill 
and devotion of the brave young doctor during the 
three years and a half in which he was permitted to 
serve Africa. 

And did he ever regret the change to all this from 
his London practice ? Let him answer for himself. 
Writing to a relative, he says : — 

"Do I regret leaving my cosy house in London, and 
my comfortable, well-fed patients, to take to a Central 
African house and unclothed, poorly fed blacks? To 
which I make answer in Scotch fashion by putting 
another question, ' Does a slave regret getting his 
freedom and yearn for his chains once more ? ' If he 
does, then he is not free ; he is still a slave in all but 
name. What has my change brought me ? I don't 
know how much ; but it has taught me that ' our 


America is here, or nowhere ; ' that one can do God's 
work anywhere, provided one has the eye to see and 
the heart to feel — anywhere, I had almost said, better 
than in a comfortable London practice ! " 

Oh, how worthless the old had become after he had 
tasted the joy of the new ! 

But I must hasten on, and I hardly know how to 
tell the story of the last days of that noble life. A 
terrible visitation of influenza had swept over the 
Mission both in Blantyre itself and in the villages 
around ; natives and Europeans alike were stricken, 
and more than twenty deaths resulted within a radius 
of four or five miles. Every one of the Mission staff 
with one exception was laid down, and very heavy work 
fell to the doctor. By day in the Mission itself the 
natives lay on their mats spread on the grass in the 
open air under the trees, and as he walked through 
them, stooping to minister to them one by one, he 
felt, he said, like one walking over a field of battle. 
The strain upon him, both of fatigue and anxiety, was 
very great, for he carried the burden of all these 
patients on his heart, and was unremitting in his 
attention to them. By-and-by he was himself seized 
with influenza, and had a very sharp attack. It 
pulled him down greatly, and he never got up his 
strength again. In a letter written home when he 
was just recovering he said : — " We are all needing 
rest and change, — the very things we cannot get." 

It was just on the back of this that there came the 


awful ten days. One day Mrs. Henderson's little chil 1 
was ailing, and Dr. Bowie was asked to come and see 
him. When he came, he found the little fellow in his 
bath crowing merrily. He laughed and said, " There's 
not much the matter with you, old boy." But a little 
later he came back to examine him. In the course of 
the examination he looked into the child's mouth, and 
in a moment there was a change. At the sight which 
he saw there, a shadow deepened on the doctor's grave 
face, — a shadow that never lifted, a look that never 
passed away till the time came when for himself, too, 
as well as for the child, that day broke when all 
shadows flee away. Diphtheria was what he saw 
— and of a very malignant type. All the weary 
hours of that night he sat by his patient. Hour after 
hour passed, and the little sufferer grew worse till 
his sufferings became dreadful to see. By midnight 
the doctor saw that tracheotomy would be necessary 
to give even a chance for life, and he determined 
to perform it whenever daylight came. Oh, how the 
hearts of these weary watchers wished for the day ! 
Dawn came at last, and the operation was performed. 
The membrane was far down in the throat, and with 
terrible determination the doctor sucked the tube again 
and yet again. The instant sense of relief and the 
child's grateful, restful look were touching to behold. 
But to the doctor ? Ah ! to him this was the breathing 
of death. Well did he know what it meant. None 
knew better than he the risk he was running. It wa.-j 


not the first time he had taken his life in his hand 
thus. More than once before he had done the same 
both for black patient and white. He wasn't the 
man to consider himself, or to calculate what risk he 
ran if he could save a life. He did now just what he 
had done when the call came to give himself to Africa 
at the first. He fearlessly did the duty God gave him 
to do, and left the result with God. The relief which 
the operation brought was great, but only temporary. 
The membrane was too far down, and only for 
twelve short hours was the little life prolonged. At 
five o'clock the next afternoon the child died. Hardly 
was the funeral over, the nest morning, when Mrs. 
Henderson lay down, worn out with fatigue and grief. 
Next day (Friday) the doctor knew that she had diph- 
theria, and the next he had it himself. Can you think 
of the consternation which strikes a household here 
when diphtheria comes to it ? What must it have been 
to the Blantyre household there ! But in the midst of 
the excitement and dread, one man is calm, deliberate, 
cool. It is Dr. Bowie. From his bed he gives orders to 
send men away to Mount Milanje (four days' journey) 
for Dr. W. A. Scott ; to send others to Domasi (sixty 
miles) for Dr. Henry Scott. Then he gives all needed 
directions as to what should be done by everybody. 
Piegularly from time to time he sent to hear how his 
sister was, and when he heard that she was worse he 
rose from his bed and went to see her and do for her 
whatever could be done. 


Sunday came, — and what a Sunday it must have been 
in that little stricken community ! Mrs. Henderson 
was much worse, and the doctor's strength was greatly 
reduced, but again he made them help him across 
from his house to the Manse, that he might see 
her ; and so the weary hours dragged on. Monday 
morning came, but its daylight brought no cheer. 
Her suflFerings had now become terrible, and again in 
tracheotomy alone lay the one hope of life. Dr. Harry 
Scott had arrived from Domasi at four o'clock that 
morning. He was drenched and weary with his walk 
of more than sixty miles in fearful rain, which made 
the journey through the long grass, across the swollen 
streams and over Mount Ndirande, almost impossible, 
but he was brave and ready. He had never, however, 
performed that operation, and in this case there were 
complications, making it more than usually difficult 
even for the most experienced surgeon, and Dr. Bowie 
would not allow him to do it. Bracing himself for the 
effort, he made them carry him from his own dying-bed 
to the bedside of his dying sister, and there, with clear 
head and firm hand, he performed the operation with 
all his own skill and care, giving immediate and 
immense relief. It seems so easy to tell all this, but 
so hard to realise it. We read many a wondrous story 
of hero and martyr, but surely seldom have we seen 
anything finer and nobler than the dying surgeon, 
careless of life, stepping forth to fight death on his own 
ground. For an hour or two a gleam of hope shone 


through the cloud, and it almost seemed as if the 
daring deed were to be rewarded by victory on that 
desperate field. But the hope was short-lived, for in 
the afternoon a change for the worse came. After the 
operation the doctor had been compelled to go home 
to bed, but by six o'clock she had grown much worse, 
and sent a message begging him to come to her. 
Though faint and ill he went at once, and from that 
time he watched beside her till the end came. She 
was quite conscious, and knew that she was dying, but 
she could not speak. They brought her a slate, and 
she wrote on it dying messages to loved ones far away. 
Very lovingly " Jack " took them from her one by one 
as they were rubbed from the slate to make room for 
others. With a tenderness which those who were 
present will never forget, he spoke in her dying ear 
beautiful words of comfort for the darkness of the 
valley through which he well knew they were both 
passing. And all the time he never once thought of 
himself; his whole anxiety was for her. 

What a picture of life and love it is that presents 
itself to us as we look into that African home ! We 
see the brother and the sisters, — those children that 
long ago played together in the old Edinburgh 
home, — and we see what God and life and grace 
have made them. What courage, — what affection, — 
what Christian confidence, — what triumph over the 
fear of death ! Oh ! think of it, Reader, and learn 
to look reverently on the little children that are play- 


ing in the homes of to-day as you wonder what that 
life may be to which God is calling them. 

With Tuesday morning the struggle was over. Poor 
Harriet passed from her sufferings to her rest, and brave 
Jack went back to that bed from which, three short days 
after, he was to follow her home. She had left her 
messages for home with him, but not to the earthly but 
to the heavenly home did he carry them. He had been 
growing steadily worse, and at one time it seemed as 
if they would have to operate on him too, but the 
membrane did not extend downwards so as to implicate 
his breathing, and it was not necessary. His strength, 
however, rapidly gave way, and on Friday morning 
the brave doctor, whose short life in Africa had been 
one record of devoted service, passed away. 

If ever a man's life breathed the spirit of Christ, his 
had done it ; and if ever a man died a martyr's brave 
death, he did. The whole community had been un- 
speakably distressed before, but when the tidings were 
told that the beloved doctor was no more, all felt as if 
their cup of sorrow was full. The news that Dr. Bowie 
was ill had spread like wildfire through the native 
villages around, and when word followed that he 
was dead, a feeling almost of dismay spread through 
the community. They laid him to sleep in that little 
Blantyre cemetery, the very dust of which is dear to 
so many whose eyes have never seen it. The natives 
had come and asked — touching request ! — that they 
might be allowed to dig his grave. Never had there 


been in that quiet spot such a gathering as assembled 
there to lay hira to his rest, and there was not, we 
are told, a dry eye in the mourning crowd. Yet 
around that grave they sang. With trembling voices, 
choked by many a sob, they sang his own favourite 
hymn : — 

" Thou to whom the sick and dying 

Ever came, nor came in vain, 
Still with healing word replying 

To the wearied cry of pain. 
Hear us, Jesus, as we meet. 
Suppliants at Thy mercy -seat." 

I shall not attempt to characterise such a life or to 
estimate its noble work. We bow before it in ad- 
miration and awe. Better that we should quietly still 
our hearts to listen while God Himself speaks to us 
from it. Like the box of ointment broken whose 
odour filled the house, such lives poured out fill the 
land with fragrance and are for the healing of its life. 

Of the sorrow in his home I shall not speak, or of 
the young wife who went forth so bravely, returning to 
her native land a widow, with her little child orphaned 
so early. The devoted affection with which the Euro- 
pean community outside the Mission regarded him 
was shown by an immediate request for permission to 
place in the beautiful new church a series of stained- 
glass windows in memory of their beloved physician, 
to whom they owed so much, and whom they had 
loved so well. 


Very deep and solemn, too, was the impression 
which his death made on the native mind, and tokens 
are not awanting already that God used that martyr 
death to perfect and ripen seeds which he had sown 
during his life. " Except a corn of seed fall into the 
f,n'ound and die, it abideth alone ; but if it die, it 
bringeth forth much fruit." 


Bol&ert Clclantr, 





It is no small thing to say of Robert CI eland that lie 
is not unworthy to be named along with two such men 
as Henry Henderson and John Bowie. He was one 
with them in spirit, and he was not behind them in 
courage and devotion. All three had been students 
of Edinburgh University, Cleland being the last to 
go forth and the first to be called home. His career 
was the shortest of the three, but it was long enough 
to show how deeply " Africa " was written on his heart, 
and it is not unfitting that with the pioneer missionary 
who opened the way, and the medical missionary who 
soothed the sufferings and healed the sickness of the 
African people, we should link the ordained minister 
of Jesus Christ who went forth there to teach and to 
preach the glorious Gospel of the blessed God. 

It was neither from the beauties of a rural parish 
nor from the culture of city life that God called this 
servant. He came forth to the work of God from 
a humble home amidst the smoke and dust and 
noise of Scotland's " Black Country." Born in Coat- 
bridge in 1857, ^Q received his early education first 


at Dundyvan, and tlien at Gartsherrie Academy there. 
After leaving school, he served his apprenticeship as 
an engineer in one of the large engineering works of 
which there are so many in that neighbourhood. As 
a boy he was quiet, painstaking, and in everything 
very conscientious. I can remember the foreman under 
whom he served part of "his time" speaking to me 
years ago of the quiet, industrious lad who never 
seemed to care for sporting with the other apprentices, 
but whose mind seemed to be always on his work, 
always anxious to understand everything about it. 
Good man ! little did he know where the lad's mind 
really was. That wish to understand everything, too, 
doubtless made him the "handy" man he was after- 
wards, able to put his hand to anything — to clean a 
watch or repair an engine or construct a bridge, — an 
invaluable gift for such work as lay before him. In the 
winter evenings he attended the Gartsherrie science 
classes, where he gained certificates of the Science and 
Art Department for mathematics, natural philosophy, 
chemistry, and other branches of science, and this 
training and the possession of these certificates also 
pi'oved helpful to him in his future career. 

It was in his twenty-first year that he finally 
decided to give himself to the mission-field. Like 
Isaiah, he was worshipping in the House of God 
when the call came to him. It was in the parish 
church of Garturk, on a Sunday in the late autumn 
of 1878, and the writer, then a young minister, was 


making his first missionary appeal to tlie congregation 
over which he had been set only a few months before. 
Lookinor round the congregation, which included a 
large number of young men, the preacher asked, 
"Why should not a congregation like this give not 
only of its means but of its men to the mission-field ? " 
Very earnest was the look that then shone in Cleland's 
face. It was as if his very soul was gazing out of those 
deep, dark eyes of his. He seemed to hear the voice 
of God saying, " Whom shall I send ? and who will 
go for us ? '" and reverently he answered, in his heart, 
" Here am I ! Send me." From that hour he was 
consecrated to God and to Africa. Much and often 
did he pray over it, but from that decision he never 
swerved or turned back. With characteristic reticence 
he buried his secret in his bosom for months. No 
one heard from him one single word telling of the 
new purpose that filled his soul, but all the time he 
was busy preparing for the work to which he had 
devoted himself. He determined to qualify himself 
for the position of an Ordained Minister, and his 
first step was to begin toiling away quietly by him- 
self at his Latin and Greek, His fellow- workmen 
used afterwards to tell how he brought his Greek 
Grammar with him to his work, and how, when the 
dinner -hour came and the others went home to 
dinner, he would sit in a corner of the shed eating 
his "piece" and getting up his Greek verbs. At 
length the time came when his secret must come out. 


or so much of it, at least. One day lie called for me 
and, to my surprise, asked if I would examine him in 
Latin and Greek to see whether I thought him iit. for 
entering college. As was to be expected, his know- 
ledge of these subjects was compai'atively meagre, but 
the offer of a little "coaching" during the week or two 
that remained ere the opening of the college session 
was gratefully accepted, and the progress of tbese few 
weeks showed what a power of work he possessed. 

In due time he entered the University of Edin- 
burgh, and there, in face of difficulties that would have 
daunted a less determined spirit, he worked his way 
through the full seven years of a university course, 
helping at the same time to maintain himself by teach- 
ing. He worked very hard, studying late and early. 
No one knew how much it cost him to make up all 
the leeway of those years, and to keep up with class- 
fellows who had been taught and drilled in classics 
at school and then gone straight to college. In all 
his classes he acquitted himself creditably, gaining 
the approval of his professors and the respect and 
regard of his fellow-students. For a short period 
after his first college session was ended he went to 
Lancaster. Here it was that his Science and Art 
Department certificates stood him in stead, for it was 
by the help of these that he obtained an appointment 
as a teacher of science in Lancaster Commercial School. 
He greatly enjoyed his time there, and in after-years 
he looked back gratefully to the experience he had 


gained while thus engaged, and to the friendships 
whicb he had formed there. In due time he returned 
to college and resumed his hard and steady work. 
During several winters he taught for some hours 
every evening the boys residing in the Home of the 
Edinburgh Industrial Brigade. It was congenial work, 
but it was very hard. The big lads, sometimes rough, 
though not unkindly, felt the influence of his strong 
personality and devotion to them, and they liked him. 
But it was no light thing to keep them occupied and 
busy with their work through a whole winter evening, 
and when at ten o'clock he left them and walked 
wearily home to his lodgings, he was often much 
more fit for going to bed than for sitting down, as 
he regularly did, to pore over his own studies till the 
small hours of the morning. Yet he never flinched, 
and the thought of giving it up or turning back never 
once crossed his mind. In the summer of 1886 he 
went for some months to be missionary at Achnacarry, 
in Lochaber, under the late Dr. Archibald Clark of 
Kilmallie, and kindly recollections of him still linger 
among the people there. When visiting in that 
locality recently, I was struck with the affectionate 
way in which some of the people I met still spoke 
of him. The tremble in the voice and the eyes 
that filled as they spoke told of the strong tie with 
which there, as everywhere, he seemed to attach people 
to him. He was very happy in his work in Lochaber. 
There was something about the great hills and the 


quiet glens that appealed to him, and he loved tramp- 
ing about among them — those great long walks he had 
to take preaching and visiting his people. It was like 
a foretaste of his future work, and left its impres- 
sion upon him. Twelve months later, when, in his 
first letter home, he was describing his approacli to 
Blantyre, he wrote : — " For miles we were passing 
through a steep, hilly country, prettily wooded, so 
like Clunes Hill in Lochaber that sometimes T could 
almost believe that time was a year rolled back." 

All this time he was dreaming of Africa with an 
enthusiasm that was almost a passion. Eagerly he 
read every book that could give him information 
about it. But Livingstone was his great ideal. More 
than one pilgrimage did he make from his home at 
Old Monkland over to Blantyre to visit the birthplace 
of his hero and see the mills where he had worked as 
a boy and the scenes amidst which he had been reared. 
That a double portion of that master's spirit might 
rest upon him was the constant prayer of his eager 
youthful heart. Every step of the great traveller's 
journeys through the Dark Continent he had traced 
again and again, and every station in the African 
mission-field he knew. At that time it seemed as 
if there was no prospect of his being sent to Africa 
by his own Church. The funds at the disposal of 
the Foreign Mission Committee, and responsibilities 
already resting upon them, greater than they could 
meet, forbade their increasing the staff of missionaries 


in the African field; but he laboured on in his pre- 
paration, assured that God would open a way for him 
when the time came that he was ready to go. And so 
He did. Cleland's last session at college was within 
a few weeks of being ended when an unexpected 
call came for a missionary to go to Africa. The 
Eev. David Clement Scott, head of the Blantyre 
Mission, had been home on furlough after five years of 
work in Africa, and by his fervid enthusiasm and 
stirring words had kindled a flame of sympathy for 
African Missions in many hearts. One point which 
he had repeatedly and strongly urged was the im- 
portance of strengthening the Mission by opening a 
new station at Mount Milan je, an important centre 
and the residence of a powerful chief, about four days' 
journey from Blanytre. The old difficulty, however — 
want of money — stood in the way, and Mr. Scott, at 
the close of his furlough, had to sail again for Africa 
without having obtained the additional missionary 
he desired. His words of appeal, however, remained 
behind him like seeds taking root in Christian hearts, 
and long before he reached Blantyre their fruit began 
to appear. A few friends in the congregation of St. 
George's Church, Edinburgh, impressed by the necessity 
and the opportunity, offered to bear the expense of 
sending out a missionary if one could be sent at once. 

Shortly after this^ there was a gathering of students 
in the rooms of the Church, 22 Queen Street, and 
Dr Scott, minister of St. George's, who was present 


clianced in the most casual way to meet Cleland among 
others, and made his acquaintance. It was not long 
before he discovered where the lad's heart was and 
what was the desire of his life. Subsequent inquiries 
abundantly satisfied him that here was just the kind of 
man that was needed for Milanje, and for which he and 
his friends were looking. The result was, that, after 
careful consideration by the Foreign Mission Committee, 
the appointment was offered to Cleland. Surely no 
one called to leave his native land ever received the 
summons with more eager joy. He wrote to his mother 
a characteristic letter, and on getting back her willing 
consent, — written with characteristic solemnity and 
reverence, — he accepted the appointment. One hardly 
knows whether to admire more the mother lovingly 
yielding her son to God for such work, or the son 
going forth in such a spirit. " Of course, I am grate- 
ful for the appointment," he wrote to the Secretary 
of the Foreign Mission Committee, " and I trust that a 
devoted life may reveal my sincerity of heart better than 
any mere words can do." He was licensed to preach 
the Gospel by the Presbytery of Edinburgh in April 
1887, and on the 29th May following he was ordained 
a Missionary to Africa in St. George's Church, Edin- 
burgh. It was during the sittings of the General 
Assembly, and there was a crowded congregation, 
among whom were many ministers and others from all 
parts of the country. To him, with his shrinking, sensi- 
tive nature, it was a terribly trying occasion, " I would 


rather cross Africa," he wrote to a friend, " than face the 
awful ordeal. It seems a shame to put a poor broken- 
down mortal through such a public trial, but I sup- 
pose the feelings of the one must be sacrificed that 
those of the many may be touched. This seems to 
be the law of all true life." Certainly, as he stood 
there the centre of the great gathering, so pale and 
earnest-looking, and yet so calm and self-possessed, 
with the gentle light shining in his dark eye, there was 
something that drew the sympathies of all hearts to 
him, and a link of personal sympathy was forged which 
made many a one watch with prayerful interest the steps 
of his subsequent career. At the close of the service 
hundreds thronged round him eager to shake hands 
with the young missionary and bid him " God-speed," 
among them being a number of boys and girls, for 
each of whom he had a personal word, which no doubt 
they would long remember. His mother was prevented 
by illness from going to Edinburgh to be present at 
his ordination, and he had only a few days in which 
to go home to Old Monkland and see her before he 
left. Busy days they were, full of preparations and 
hurried farewells to old friends and companions. Then 
he paid a flying visit to Leeds on his way south, — 
to say " good-bye " to a brother who was there, — and 
then on to London, all within the week. Here, too, 
he had a busy time — so many places to go and so 
many things to be got, so many instructions to be 
attended to, and withal so little time to think, so little 


opportunity for the pent-up fountain of feeling to 
find outlet. When he went on board the lioslin Castle 
he met another young missionary also on his way to 
his first work in the African field, Mr. W. Bell, an 
engineer, who was going out to Mandala in the service 
of the African Lakes Company. At once the two 
took to each other, and during the long voyage the 
companionship and communion of a kindred spirit was 
very helpful to both. The vessel sailed from London 
on the 9th June. I was one of those who stood and 
saw him wave his last farewell as the Roslin Castle 
steamed out of the dock, and a bright farewell it was, 
without one trace of sorrow or regret. Even in that 
hour of parting from home and kindred, a bright joy 
lit his face at the thought that Africa and his work 
there for God were now so near. After watching till 
the little group of friends on the pier-head had faded 
in the distance behind, the two young missionaries sat 
down and had a long, earnest talk about the work 
to which they were going, and it drew them very 
close together, that talk. Then CI eland went below 
to write, and as the vessel was steaming out of the 
Thames he wrote to his most intimate college friend, 
and this was how his letter began : — 

" Bound for Africa at last ! — the land of my hopes, 
and, I trust, sooner or later (it may sound strange), 
the land of my grave ! Oh, to live for it and die for 
it! and to lie there with all the seeds of your work 
growing up around you until we rise to meet Him ! 


I always like to think of sleeping my long sleep in 
one of those vast solitudes — solitudes in which the 
wail of the slave now rises to heaven, but which one 
day will be a garden of God." 

To another friend he wrote at the same time : — 
"It is not simply that I am leaving for Africa. 
That never gives me a thought — except the thought, 
Am I worthy for work in Africa? Will I be able, 
with the help of a Higher Hand, to do something for 
Africa? . . . May He who sustains all and is over 
all prepare me, soul and body, for the Master's use ! 
The great ideal of my life has been to do something 
for Africa, even if it should be His will that I only 
take possession of the land by a grave. Oh that, in 
the truest sense, I may be consecrated for such a work ! 
Africa has been the dream of my past, and God's 
leading encourages me to believe that it will be the 
joy of my future. It is among my dearest wishes to 
be at last laid in its solitudes as a fingerpost to point 
the way for others. I may fall, but I will as certainly 
rise again." 

Sadly prophetic words ! How we read them now ! 
And how soon have they been fulfilled ! They were 
not like the ordinary words of a student writing to 
his chums. They were a revelation of the man him- 
self, and showed what manner of man he was and 
in what spirit he went forth. " Africa " was written 
on his heart. To do something for poor suffering 
Africa was the dream of his life, and no sacrifice did 


he think too great, not even life itself, if he could 
tliereby help in healing " this open sore of the world." 
Surely it was God who implanted that burning desire 
in his soul ! And to think that already his work for 
Africa is over, after only three short years and a half! 
To-day there is sorrow in the old home, sorrow among 
the missionary band at Blantyre, sorrow in the Church ; 
but Cleland has got his wish. God gave him his 
desire. He worked for Africa ; he died for Africa ; and 
now he is sleeping his long sleep in one of those vast 
solitudes, and the seeds of his work are growing, and 
will grow up around him until the day when he shall 
rise to meet Him. 

Of his voyage out little need be said. It, too, was 
like other voyages. He greatly enjoyed it, and was 
much benefited in health by the rest and the sea-breezes. 
He had a great regard for the captain of the ship, and 
spoke most gratefully of much personal kindness which 
he had received from him. Changing his steamer at 
the Cape, he found sailing up the east coast rather 
tiresome, and was not sorry when they anchored off 
Quilimane. Here the first shadow fell on his path. 
Tidings met him there of the death of poor Mrs. 
]\rilwain, who had died at Vicentis as the Mission party 
preceding him went up the river. After two days at 
Quilimane, he, with a fellow-traveller as a companion, 
started at midnight in a small boat for Vicentis, on the 
Zambezi, under conditions which reduced the comforts 
of travelling to a minimum. "We slept," he says, 


" in a little grass house in the boat, about three feet 
higrh and four feet wide. At our heads were the bare 
legs of the native steersman ; at our feet (mine reached 
far out of the house) were the rowers, singing their 
musical chant as they pulled together at the oars." 
Three days of this, followed by two and a half days' 
march through the long grass under a burning sun, 
brought them to Vicentis, the heat during the latter 
part of the march being very trying. Writing of it 
long after, he said he had never felt it so hot as he 
had done that day. At Vicentis he expected to get 
the African Lakes Company's steamer up the River 
Shire, but on his arrival he learned that the steamer 
would not arrive for a week yet. Vicentis is a cheer- 
less and unhealthy spot on the river-bank, and very 
reluctantly he waited there. The end of the long 
week came, but not yet the steamer. A day or two 
later came Lieutenant Wissmann, who had just crossed 
the continent, taking four years to the task. He had 
passed through Blantyre, and gave a glowing account 
of the place ; but he also brought word that it would 
probably be a fortnight yet ere the steamer could 
arrive. Two or three days longer Cleland waited, and 
then, as there seemed no prospect of the steamer, he 
started in a small boat with a crew of ten men, not 
one of whom knew a word of English, — which, he says, 
not unreasonably, he found " a great disadvantage ! " 
The slow, weary progress of a passage up the river in 
one of these boats has often been described — the high 


banks, and the mud, and the rank smell of the decay- 
ing vegetation, and the heat, and the discomforts of 
the boat, and the irregularity of meals, and the chance 
character of the food that one could prepare for him- 
self when the men stopped to cook their own food. 
One does not wonder that, in the midst of these, the 
fever-tyrant had his hand on him before he reached 
Blantyre, " On my fourth day out," he says, " I had 
an attack of what / call 'bilious fever.' It lasted a 
little more than four days, after which, however, I was 
able to take to shooting hippos." Some time later, 
however, he writes : — " My health here (at Blantyre) 
has been quite as good as at home, but they say that 
my ' bilious attack ' on the river was fever, and in the 
circumstances I dare say I could hardly fail to have 
been saturated with malaria." 

Eleven days after leaving Vicentis he reached 
Katungas, the landing-place for Blantyre, from which 
it is twenty- nine miles distant, and here he inserts a 
characteristic parenthesis : — " By the way, Katunga 
is the Makololo chief, and was one of Livingstone's 
' boys.' Strange that so many of the river chiefs were 
Livingstone's men, who seem to have risen by force of 
character to what they are ! " 

The march up the road from Katungas was speedily 
accomplished, and about 9 p.m. in the evening he 
reached Blantyre, Mr. Scott and Mr. Duncan having 
walked out some miles to meet him. Like all who 
go to Blantyre, he fell in love with it at first sight. 


His expectations of it were high. " Every white man 
I met between this and Quilimane," he wrote, " had 
said to me, ' But wait till yon see Blantyre ! ' " But, 
high as they were, these expectations were more than 
fulfilled, and he wrote home a glowing description of 
the place, the work, the people, and, above all, of his 
own kindly reception among them. " Even the little 
black boys and girls," he said, " came peeping into the 
room to see the new minister," 

" I wish you could see Blantyre," he wrote again ; 
"you cannot conceive how much good it is doing to 
Africa. Boys are here trained to all kinds of work, 
and many of them are deeply pious. In a few years 
these will spread through the land. Even the natives 
who pass through here daily with their spears, bows 
and arrows, and guns are being silently influenced for 
good. You cannot expect with a race like these such 
results as some good people at home are tired looking 
for, but one realises here that day by day a change is 
being wrought on the whole country round about." 

At once he fell into line and took his place in the 
work of the Mission. That gift he had of winning the 
affection of all who knew him well soon endeared him 
to his colleagues, and his stay at Blantyre was a busy 
and happy time. But the post for which he was des- 
tined was Mount Milanje, a mountain district about 
fifty miles from Blantyre, on the very edge of the 
Shir4 Highlands. Here Mr. Scott, the head of the 
Mission, had long desired to plant a station. It was 


not only an important native centre, but it was also a 
place where the Arabs were in great numbers, and from 
which caravans of slaves were continually being sent 
to the coast. It was, further, as Cleland said, the Icey 
to Quilimane^ as, in the event of the river being at any 
time blocked by war, Milanje commanded the direct 
line of the overland route to the coast. But Milanje 
was ruled by a powerful chief, Chikumbu, who was 
unfriendly to the Mission. He had an old-standing 
grievance as to some runaway slaves of his, Chipetas, 
having been harboured at Blantyre years before. The 
first step, therefore, was to visit Chikumbu and secure, 
if possible, friendly relations with him. Accordingly 
Mr. Scott, accompanied by Mr. Duncan, set off on a 
journey to Milanje for this purpose. Arrived at Chik- 
umbu's after their fifty miles' walk, they found that 
the chief refused to see them personally. For two days 
they were kept waiting to learn his decision as to the 
reception which should be given them, and one can 
understand the anxiety of two such days, waiting on 
the whim of a powerful and treacherous chief whose 
cross mood or fretful temper might at any time utter 
the word which would mean their death. But their 
hope was in God. After two days, Chikumbu, who 
still refused to see them, sent his headmen to demand 
the immediate return of his slaves. Mr. Scott met this 
demand with a counter-proposal that he would redeem 
the men, purchasing their freedom at thirty-two yards 
of calico per head. This proposal was at once rejected 


by the headmen with sundry threatenings and war-like 
demonstrations, and with a disappointed heart, but 
grateful to the Providence that had spared their lives, 
Mr. Scott and Mr. Duncan returned to Blantyre. 

Baffled thus for a time at Milanje, Cleland went to 
Chirazulo, — a place fifteen miles from Blantyre, on the 
way to Domasi, — and founded a Mission station there. 
Here settling among a people who welcomed his com- 
ing among them, he erected with his own hands, aided 
only by native help, a building for a church and school 
and a house for himself, making roads, building bridges, 
laying out a garden and fields, as well as establishing 
a school and teaching the natives, preaching all the 
while both by life and lips the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 
Here he laboured for nearly three years, — a true pioneer, 
with heart and head and hand all disciplined and ready 
for whatever God might give him to do. For a great 
part of that time he was there alone, with never a 
white man for a companion. It was a lonely post, but 
he loved the African people with a wonderful devotion. 
"You would love them too," he wrote, "if you only 
knew them." He saw much of the horrors of the 
slave-trade, and often his heart bled for the wronsrs 
and sufferings which he saw inflicted. More than once 
with his own money he redeemed the slave, and with 
his own hand sawed the slave-stick from the neck and 
set the captive free. Again and again, in his loneli- 
ness, he was down with the terrible fever, but ever as 
he recovered he was at work again. One of his letters^ 


written from Chirazulo on the 27tli October 1 888, gives 
some idea of the heart-pressure under which that work 
was carried on by the lonely missionary : — 

" Work here," he says, " continues as usual. We 
cannot boast, but I do pray that some seed may fall 
on good ground ; and I know it will. Yesterday we 
went to the hill in the morning as usual. Just fancy 
yourself in Africa on a mountain side. The sun is 
shining brightly on the native village, with its beehive- 
like grass huts. Here and there under huge trees are 
gathered groups of people. On a rock near, women 
are pounding maize, men are weaving mats, and the 
children are happy at play. A little way apart from 
one of these groups, and alone, we see a slave sitting 
painfully under the weight of a heavy slave-stick. 
His eyes are dreamily following us. We speak to a 
group of women, and they ask us when rain will come. 
' Father,' they say, ' pray for rain, or there will be 
hunger.' After conversing with groups here and there, 
and asking them to come to the ' talk about God,' 
we get all gathered under one village tree. Just aa 
the service is beginning we hear far away up on the 
hillside a woman calling with that peculiar strained 
voice — strained to suit the distance. All is silence. 
Then we hear again, and this time we distinguish 
plainly the word wjondo, and soon several of the 
men rush up. It is news of war. Some boys from 
the other side of the hill have been captured at Lake 
Shirwa when fishing with their fathers. All is excite- 


ment, and we hear them say, ' They will be taken to the 
Matapwiri/ — a great Arab centre on Milanje, whence 
they will be driven to the coast, sold, and perhaps 
shipped off who knows where ? In a little some one 
suggests, 'Let us be quiet until the white man speaks 
about God, and then we will hear about the war.' "... 
Writing at another time he says : — "At the service in 
church here we had about a hundred people present, 
but no children. The mothers, I heard, were afraid, 
and kept them at home. One of those present was a 
slave whose future was very uncertain. A more touch- 
ing scene could not be depicted than when he stood alone 
outside our little church, with no one to take up the 
burden of his heavy yoke, and so help him on ; or as he 
sat on the ground behind the rest, so wretched-looking, 
painfully twisting his neck in the slave-stick to look up 
or around him. But what is this case, heartrending 
though it be, to that of the thousands who are herded 
down that dreadful way to the coast at Shirwa ? I 
found I was on a great slave-route, and saw a caravan 
said to be with ivory. ' Yes,' said one of my boys, * but 
black ivory ! ' . . . That poor slave I spoke of has begged 
me to buy him. ' I may be sold to the coast soon,' he 
said. ' Buy me, and I will do your work.' His poor 
heart is breaking, but his is only one in a multitude of 
breaking hearts in this dark land. I shall never forget 
how one day a poor woman rushed into the station 
and cried for me — for the white man — to save her. 
' They are taking me to the coast to sell me,' she said. 


' Oh, save rae ! They hav^e stolen me from my home 
with the Chiknmbu tribe over the river.' I often 
wonder wliere she is now. Perhaps her heart broke 
altogether on that dark way to the coast, or is break- 
ing now, somewhere far away, for her old home over 
the river. People at home cannot, I think, feel as we 
feel when we stand face to face — ay, and often help- 
less — before such scenes. But with life before us 
hope runs high, and we thank God in our loneliness 
for the great blessedness of being able to do our weak 
little best to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim 
liberty to the captives and the great brotherhood of 
men. Oh, come over and help us ! " 

With that strange, deep love of Africa filling his 
soul, everything about its poor degraded suffering life 
seemed to go to his very heart. In another letter he 
wrote : — " How touching it was to hear, through the 
grass walls of the hut where I slept, a woman wailing 
for hours for her husband, who had long been dead ! 
She had dreamed of him in the night, and (as is the 
custom) she came out and paced before her hut through 
the silent hours of the morning, calling him to come 
back to her in strangely pathetic and yet weirdly 
musical words, pausing at times to speak to the dead 
in her natural voice." But, indeed, never a letter came 
from him in which he did not sigh over the cruel 
wrongs of his adopted people ; and how his indigna- 
tion flashed when he thought of self-satisfied Christians 
in the Church at home supinely indifferent to these 


things, callous to siicli sufferings, and deaf to every 
appeal on their behalf! He could not understand 
such people. 

In the autumn of 188S the Rev, Alexander Hether- 
wick, missionary at Domasi, a station fifty-five miles 
north-east of Blantyre, came home on a much-needed 
and well - earned furlough, and during the sixteen 
months he was absent Cleland took charge of the work 
at Domasi, along with his own work at Chirazulo, 
walking regularly the long distance between the two 
places. There he had the companionship of Mr. R. S. 
Hynde, teacher of the Mission school. The com- 
panionship of such a one was a great joy to him, and 
a fast friendship was formed between the two. It 
was no mere formal supervision of the work that he 
took while at Domasi. It was like everything he 
did, thorough and laborious. Nor was it confined to 
preaching and teaching. He was as ready with the 
spade and the hammer and the axe as he was with the 
Yao lesson-book or the New Testament. At the time 
of Mr. Hetherwick's return we read in the Blantyre 
Supplement — the little magazine printed at the Mission 
printing-press : — 

" Mr. Cleland has done Roman work here during the 
sixteen months of Mr. Hetherwick's absence. A foot- 
path eight miles in length has been hoed along the 
base of Mount Zomba from Mr. Buchanan's planta- 
tions to the station at Domasi, and has facilitated 
immensely communication between the two places. 


Mr. Buchanan cleared part of it at his end as far as 
the boundary of his property on the Naisi. A good 
road has been made from the station to the chief's 
village, crossing the Domasi River by a bridge which 
is a triumph of engineering skill. A water-channel 
fully a mile long brings the water of the Chifunde 
stream close to the station — a great boon. Thus we 
have good roads and good water, — two potent civilizers 
of a new country." 

Then he returned to Chirazulo and continued the 
work there, not without encouraging tokens of blessing. 
To help him in it he had with him Kapito and his 
wife, Rondau, — natives who had been in the Mission 
at Blantyre ever since its commencement. They had 
been baptized a few years before, and on Easter Sunday 
1887 they had sat down together at the Table of Holy 
Communion, the first communicants of the native Chris- 
tian Church. Now they are helping to train their 
countrymen in the knowledge and love of Christ, 
and faithfully and happily Cleland and they lived and 
worked together. From time to time he paid short 
visits to Blantyre, where he was always a welcome 
visitor, and occasionally he preached in the church 
there. This was always a trial to him, for he was 
terribly diffident of his own powers ; but some of those 
who were accustomed to hear him, speak of his remark- 
able power in the pulpit, of his singularly clear percep- 
tion of the truth, and of the spiritual power with which 
he preached. 


But Milanje was his destination, and he never lost 
sight of that goal. All this time he was looking 
across to the mountain as the place where he was yet 
to be, and repeated journeys thither had been under- 
taken in hope of finding the door open for starting 
the Mission there. After the visit of Mr. Scott and 
Mr. Duncan, already referred to, and while they were 
returning to Blantyre disappointed at Chikumbu's re- 
fusal to make terms of friendship, the chief changed 
his mind, or perhaps he took a different view of the 
situation from his headmen. Perhaps it occurred to 
him to ask himself whether all those yards of calico 
should be lost, or whether it might not be dangerous 
to offend " the white man." However it might be, he 
sent his son to Blantyre with a diplomatically polite 
message. He was sorry that, having been away on a 
hunting expedition, he had not seen Mr. Scott (!), but 
he hoped he would soon return to visit him, when 
he was sure some amicable terms could be arranged. 
Some time after, Mr. Scott paid a second visit, accom- 
panied by Dr. Bowie, and saw the formidable chief in 
his native village, when they were able to settle the 
matter of the slaves and their redemption, and to 
establish friendly relations between him and the mis- 
sionaries. A fownal document was prepared, and duly 
signed by the various parties to the agreement. It 
is something of a curiosity in its way. It is as 
follows : — ' 


" Blantyrk, Quilimane, East Africa, 
26th May 1 8.^ 8. 

" By these presents be it known that I, the head- 
man of Chikumbu, have received on Chikumbu's be- 
hoof, to carry to Chikumbu from Mr. Scott, head of 
the Blantyre Mission, on behoof of said Mission, 
two trusses of cloth, and that this is the earnest to 
Chikumbu himself of three more trusses yet to follow' 
to be divided amongst Chikumbu's headmen as Chik- 
umbu himself shall see fit, and that these five trusses 
shall be for settlement of all past mlandu concerning 
slaves and all else, and the establishment of friendly 
relations between the English and the said chief, 

" In witness of which first part of transmission » 
to said Chikumbu, we, the undersigned, append our 

(Signed) John Bowie. 

David Clement Scott. 
Masonga (his mark). 

D. C. S., Witness. 
Chendombo (his mark). 
D. C. S." 

"Blanttre, ^thJune 1888. 

" Be it further known that three trusses of calico 

are this day handed over to Chikumbu's headman, 

Masonga, and headman Kanjole with him, on behoof 

of Chief Chikumbu ; and that Chikumbu through 


them now declares that these five trusses (viz., the 
two formerly sent and these present three) finish the 
mlandu ; that there is no further ground of quarrel 
between the Chief Chikumbu and the English on 
account of slaves which formerly ran away, or on 
account of any one of the slaves ; and that friendship 
is herewith established and secured. 

" In witness whereof, we, the undersigned, set to 
and append our names. 

(Signed) David Clement Scott. 

Masonga (his mark). 

Kanjole (his mark). 

John Bowie. 

Douglas R. Pelly. 

Henry Hendekson. 

" Signed this fourth day of June, eighteen hundred 
and eighty- eight years, at Blantyre Mission Station, 
Shird Hills, East Africa." 

Such were the title-deeds to Milanje. They opened 
its closed door, and the chief now expressed his 
desire that the missionaries would come and live in 
his territory. How gladly would Cleland have gone ! 
But by that time it was impossible, for Hetherwick 
was away home, and he had Domasi on his hands 
as well as Chirazulo. There were other difficulties 
in the way, too. Chikumbu himself was fickle and 
uncertain, although when, at Christmas-time (1888), 
Cleland paid a visit to the mountain, he still desired 


him to come and live there. Portuguese troubles, too, 
were now hanging over the Mission, hindering every- 
thing and increasing the difficulties and uncertainty 
and it was not till May 1890 that Cleland was able to go 
to Milanje definitely to settle, Chikumbu received him 
with every token of friendship, and both the Wayao 
and their neighbours, the Wanyasa, under Chipoka, 
welcomed him ; but it was not long before it became 
evident that Chikumbu's friendship was not to be 
depended on. Cleland's tent was pitched under the 
great trees on the side of the mountain, and he 
desired to purchase land on which to erect a house. 
So many difficulties and troubles however, were raised 
regarding the land, that Cleland's carriers, who had 
brought his things, began to suspect the chief of 
seeking a quarrel which might furnish an excuse for 
seizing the goods, and it was with difficulty that they 
were prevented from running away in the night. Several 
days full of anxiety and trouble were thus spent, when, 
to make matters worse, Cleland was laid down with fever. 
After a few miserable days he was sufficiently recovered 
to go ofiT, leaving tent and everything, and make a 
hurried journey to Blantyre. Here he got quit of his 
fever, and after a few days more, was able to return 
to Milanje, Mr. M'llwain, the joiner, accompanying 
him. Soon things seemed satisfactorily settled, and 
Mr. M'llwain was able to return to Blantyre, leaving 
Cleland to the work of clearing the ground and pre- 
paring the sun-dried bricks for the erection of a 


schoolhouse and of establishing the Mission by opening 
a school for the Wayao children. 

And so he was on Mount Milanje at last ! Oh, the 
joy it was to him to be there ! I wish I could let you 
see the eager, happy missionary at his work, — his 
little tent under the great trees, and himself and his 
co-workers busy as could be, making bricks, digging 
foundations, teaching the children. In the September 
number of the Blantyre Sujjplemeiit he wrote : — " After 
more than ten years of effort the ]\Iission has at last 
secured a footing on Mount Milanje ! " The goal of 
his hopes was reached. The standard of the Cross 
was planted on those heights which he had been sent 
out to claim, and his heart rejoiced. 

For a time things went smoothly, but his difficulties 
were not yet over. They were in reality only beginning. 
The two tribes which were to unite in peace around the 
missionaries of the Prince of Peace were still savages, 
and they could not easily throw aside their wild nature. 
Chikumbu, who had been for years the scourge and 
terror of his district, was still eager to have the 
Wanyasa people under his rule, and treachery and 
cruelty, war and bloodshed, soon broke out around the 
young Mission. One day Chikumbu made a sudden 
and fierce attack on the weaker tribe, the chief him- 
self at the head of his warriors wildly waving an Arab 
flag inscribed with verses from the Koran, and urging 
on the slaughter and destruction. Cleland, who was 
at the time suffering from fever, hurried to the scene. 


and heedless of risk or danger, made Lis way through 
the fight to the chief, and quietly but firmly taking the 
flag from his hand, ordered him to desist. Strangely 
impressed, the chief submitted, and yielded up his flag, 
saying, " Lalal (Cleland) has a brave heart, like Chik- 
urabu himself." For a time the fighting was over, 
but the feud was deep-seated and chronic, and Chik- 
umbu was grasping and treacherous, and again and 
again trouble and difficulty arose. At one time Cleland 
thought of removing to some more peaceful part of the 
mountain, but to do that was to leave tLo Wanyasa to 
the tender mercies of Chikumbu, so he held on at his 
trying post. His faith failed not, and his work went 
on. " Our small school, since started," he wrote, " will, 
we trust, not be hindered by future hostilities, and we 
hope that the difficulties of these last three months 
may be but the birth-throes of a future day of peace, 
when the healing beams of the Sun of Righteousness 
will kindle the love of man to man in the dear love 
of God." 

Early in September he went to Blantyre to attend a 
meeting of the Missionary Council, when his friends 
wrote that, in spite of the troubles he had gone 
through, he was looking much better than when he 
was there before. He was so bright and happy, and 
seemed altogether in such good spirits, though his 
troubles were by no means over, and it was settled that 
Dr. W. A. Scott should accompany him on his return, 
to support him in any further difficulties with Chik- 


umbu. Sunday the 14th September was Communion 
Sunday at Blantyre. In the morning they all sat 
together at the Table of the Lord, and in the evening 
Cleland preached and closed the Communion service. 
Very beautiful, — almost like a vision, — is the glimpse 
we get of the little church that day, and the little com- 
pany of disciples, for so many of whom it was the 
last Communion on earth. I love to think of Cleland 
closing that memorable service, so far away from the 
Coatbridge smoke, — so far from the green hills of 
Lochaber, — in the heart of suffering Africa, which he 
loved so passionately, yet in the bosom of the Christian 
church planted there through Christian sacrifice, — in 
that fellowship of the saints which was so sweet to 
him, and in the very holy of holies of the Christian 
temple, standing himself with uplifted hands speaking 
words of benediction on the Church of God. It was 
from such a time of Holy Communion that he went 
out again into the night, as his Master went to the 
garden and the Cross. 

There is not much more to tell — only the end. Dr. 
W. Scott and he returned to Milanje, but the difficulties 
with Chikumbu increased to such an extent that they 
were relunctantly obliged to leave him, for a season at 
least. They made a journey down the Ruo, and then 
returned to a place at the Linge, between Chikumbu's 
and Nkanda's. After spending a few days with a head- 
man, Chakamonde, they went into a little round native 
hut near the place they had chosen for their new 


quarters. There they remained for a week, during 
which time Clelaud went across to Chikumbu's and had 
"the stuff" brought over. Then they set to work to 
prepare a new station, Dr. Scott digging pits for the 
poles of the schoolhouse, and Cleland working at a bit 
of a road to the stream. That afternoon (Tuesday) 
Cleland took ill — very ill. Both of them had been 
having touches of fever, off and on, for some time ; but 
this was much more serious. What a blessing it was 
and how thankful we are now that his companion at 
the time was the doctor! Everything was done that 
could be, but there was no improvement. He grew 
worse. On Thursday messengers were despatched to 
Blantyre for more medicines and port wine, and the 
doctor had him moved a great way up the hill, near 
the rocks. By this time he was completely prostrate. 
It was a terrible place for wind up there near the hill- 
top, so Dr. Scott had a little house built, nine feet 
by twelve, high in the centre, and strong, with a 
grass roof, and " tolerably cosy." All Friday and 
Saturday he lay there, every symptom growing alarm- 
ingly worse, till the doctor had almost lost hope. 
He was dull and apathetic and not like himself, 
" which," says Dr. Scott, " made one feel it was a 
patient he was attending, and not poor Cleland, which 
was somewhat easier to do." On Saturday the mes- 
sengers returned from Blantyre, bringing a machilah to 
convey him thither. He was himself anxious to go, so 
next morning men were got for carriers, — fortunately 


without much difficulty — and the party set out for 
Blantyre as fast as it was possible to go. That night 
they stopped to rest at a place called Medima, a 
weird, dreary place. Dr. Scott, writing of it, says : — 
" I would rather have gone on to Chintzorbedzi, for 
Medima is a doleful place. It is the place where that 
Japanese died ; and there is another grave, too ; and 
lions infest the place. Cleland, however, wished to 
stop there, and we did so. It was a strange, strange 
night. At midnight he was so ill I scarce thought he 
could live through it, and I said to myself, ' If not to- 
night, it will be to-morrow night.' The hiccough was 
constant now, rhythmical, every third inspiration ; and 
what a sound it made there — without another in all 
the lonely forest except now and again a leopard grunt- 
ing round the camp." After resting till 2.40 a.m. 
the caravan started again. It was pitch-dark, and 
they had to pick their way through the bush by the 
light of the candle-lantern which Dr. Scott carried, 
who, poor man ! worn with fatigue and watching, was 
sleeping on his feet as he walked, and from time to 
time stumbled into the bush as the path took a sharp 
or sudden turn. A dreary sunrise saw them eagerly 
pushing on, and at 10.30 the sad procession filed into 
Blantyre, twenty-four hours and a half from the time 
they had left the mountain. 

Arrived there, remedies were applied and every- 
thing that love and skill and care could do for him 
was done. The sight of friends around him, and 


especially of bis beloved Dr. Bowie, acted like a tonic. 
He brightened up on seeing them. " It does me good 
to see you," he said to Dr. Bowie; and he really 
seemed to improve. Alas ! it was the flickering before 
the darkness. Dr. Bowie and Mr. Scott arranged to 
divide the night between them to watch by him by 
turns, but in the first watch of the night, about ten 
o'clock, while Mr. Scott was with him, without a word, 
without a struggle, he passed away. His warfare 
accomplished, his toils over, another "Livingstone 
Man" had died for the redemption of Africa. As 
they looked on him there, so peacefully at rest after 
all his labours, a feeling almost of envy was in every 
heart, — " Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from 
henceforth : Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest 
from their labours; -and their works do follow them." 

This was the loth of November. Next day they 
laid him in the little cemetery at Blantyre, natives 
and Europeans sorrowing together around his grave. 
Thus Cleland of Milanje sleeps his long sleep, as he 
prayed that he might, in one of the vast solitudes, 
and already the fruits of his work are growing up 
around him. Already those vast solitudes are be- 
coming the garden of God. 

" Now the labourer's task is o'er, 
Now the battle-day is past, 
Now upon the farther shore 
Lands the voyager at last. 
Father, in Thy gracious keeping 
Leave we now Thy servant sleeping." 


Very deep was the impression made at home by the 
news of the young missionary's death, — and especially 
among those who, like himself, were still young men. 
He had been one of the earliest members of the Church 
of Scotland Young Men's Guild — a Union embracing 
a large proportion of the young men of the Church. 
He had been the first to go from its ranks to the 
mission-field ; and he was the first of their number to 
be laid in a missionary's grave. We do not wonder, 
therefore, that when the Guild first met in its Annual 
Conference after his death, the Delegates present, re- 
presenting their brethren in all parts of the land, 
resolved to erect in the new church at Blantyre a 
Memorial Tablet recording their affectionate remem- 
brance of him and his work. And so, beside the 
tablet that there commemorates Henry Henderson, 
and the windows that speak of Dr. Bowie, there is to 
be seen a simple brass tablet bearing the following 
inscription : — 


Born at Coatbridge, Scotland, September 4, 1857. 

Ordained a Missionary to Africa, May 29, 1887. 

Died at Blantyre, November 10, 1S90. 

This Tablet is erected 


The Members of the Church op Scotland Young Men's Guild, 

in Memory of 

the First of their Number laid in a Missionary's Grave, 

'Till He Come." 




Thus they died at their posts, — three good men and 
true, — and the world is the poorer for their loss; but, 
though dead, Henderson, Bowie, and Cleland still speak 
to us. When the Angel of Death had folded his wings, 
that was a sadly stricken community over which he had 
passed. Blantyre was left almost a wreck of its former 
self — " almost a mission skeleton of three lonely house- 
occupants at the three corners of the place," — a few 
brave hearts strained almost to the breaking. Yet 
they never gave way, and out of their very need came 
a voice whose appeal reached the heart of the Church 
at home. It is the day of battle which calls forth the 
soldier spirit, and we do not wonder that the story of 
courage, endurance, and death, instead of deterring, 
should awake a spirit of chivalry and call forth offer 
after offer to go and occupy the vacant posts. The 
Church had hardly time to record her sorrow over the 
fallen, and to thank God for the work they had done, 
ere she was laying hands of benediction on others 
going forth to take up the work that had fallen from 
their hands. Already five new missionaries have gone 


to join the staff of the Mission, and uo better wish 
could be offered as we bid them " God speed " than 
that they may catch something of the spirit of those 
whom they have gone to succeed. 

A widespread desire has been expressed that 
some fitting memorial should be found to cherish 
the memory of those who, in Blantyre, laid down 
their lives in the service of Christ, and it is felt that 
the true memorial must be something which will help 
to perpetuate their spirit and continue their work. It 
has, therefore, been proposed that a Cleland Memorial 
Church should one day be erected on Mount Milanje, — 
where Robert Cleland so fearlessly and laboriously laid 
the foundations of a Christian Mission. In Blantyre, 
too, there will surely be ere long a Bowie Hospital — 
such an hospital as Dr. Bowie longed for — where the 
loving, patient, skilful care with which he tended his 
poor black patients may be continued by others, 
labouring, like him, for Christ's sake. Then on the 
River Shir^ there is to be — and very soon, we hope — 
a Mission Steamer bearing the name of Henry 
Henderson, which, like the pioneer missionary him- 
self, will in future go down to meet the outgoing 
mission-party at the coast, and conduct them up the 
river to their field of labour; only doing it with a 
speed, health, and comfort unknown in former days. 
It will also overcome the difficulties in the way of 
evangelizing those river tribes, whose chiefs and vil- 
lages are praying us to come to them, but whose home 


is where the European may not dwell, and whom, 
therefore, only a Mission Steamer, with a man of the 
Cleland stamp in charge of it, can eflfectually reach. 

Such monuments are proposed, and doubtless there 
are many who will count it a privilege to have a share 
in providing them. Worthy memorials they will be of 
three such lives, for they will secure the continuance 
of the work done by those whose names they bear. 
But, after all, these will be but tools, and their worth 
as memorials will depend on the kind of men who 
use them. In the little missionary band now holding 
the field in Central Africa there are to-day as brave 
hearts and true as any that are gone. But they are 
sorely in need of help, and they appeal to us for it. 
The burden is too heavy, — the work is too much, — the 
possibilities are too great for them to bear alone ; and 
the voice of the living and the memory of the dead 
alike cry to us, — "Pray ye the Lord of the harvest 
that He would send forth more labourers into the har- 
vest." There is no field in the world where conse- 
crated men and women, are more needed, or in which 
they can better invest loving service for Jesus' sake. 
This is the true memorial which the Church must 
raise to lives like these — men and women cherishing 
their memory, breathing their spirit, following in their 
footsteps — to render, through the Church and the Hos- 
pital and the Mission Steamer, loving Christ-like ser- 
vice to the poor dark children of Africa. Will the 
Church at home furnish these? In closino- the book 


whicli tells the story of those Martyrs of Blantyre, 
may one venture to wonder whether among those who 
may read that story there may not be some one who 
will hear iu it a call to self-consecration — some one 
who, giving himself to God and to Africa, may one day 
bring to the INIission the watchful care of a Henderson, 
the heroic devotion and skill of a Bowie, or the conse- 
crated enthusiasm and labour of a Cleland ? The Lord 
grant it in His time ! 





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V Bp iUu:i<jcn;a^-s O 

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3i EDr 3G 






Blantyre {Founded 1875). 
Rev. D. C. Scott, B.D., F.R.S.G.S. (18S1), and Mrs. 
Scott; John M'llwain, Industi'ial (1884); Miss Janet Beck 
(1887); Mrs. Fenwick; John A. Smith, Teacher (1888), 
and Mrs. Smith; Rev. W. A. Scott, M.A., M.B., CM., 
(1889); George Adamson, Industrial (1891); James Reid, 
General Agent (1891); H. D. Herd, Teacher (1891). 

DoMASi {Founded 1884). 
Rev. A. Hetherwick, M.A., F.R.G.S. (1883); R. S. 
Hynde, Teacher (1888), and Mrs. Hynde; Miss Margaret 
Christie (1889); Rev. H. E. Scott, L.E.C.P. and'^S.E. 
(1890); Miss Euphemia Edie (1891). 

Chirazulo {Founded 1887). 
Founded by the late Rev. R. Cleland. At present 
worked by Native Teachers from Blantyre. 

MiLANJE {Founded 1890.) 
Founded by the late Rev. R. Cleland. Rev. Adam Currie, 
M.A. (1891); George Robertson, L.R.C.P and S.E. (1891). 



TRIBUTE PAID TO THE Memory of the Blaxtyre 


CnuRCH OF Scotland. 

The Church's sense of the loss sustained by the death 
of those missionaries is expressed in the following : — 

Minute of General Assembly as to the Deiths of 
Missionaries at Blantyre. 

At Edinburgh, the ist day of June 1891, 
Which day the General Assembly of the Church of Scot- 
land being met and constituted, i7ife7' alia, — The General 
Assembly having been informed by its Foreign Mission 
Committee of the death at Blantyi'e on loth November 
of the Rev. Robert Cleland ; the death at Blantyie on 
13th January of INIrs. Henry Henderson; the death at 
Blantyie on 1 7th January of Dr. John Bowie ; the death 
at Quilimane on 12th February of Mr. Henry Henderson, — 
desires to record in its Minutes a tribute of respect to those 
gi'catly lamented mis.sionaries, an extract thereof to be sent 
to the relatives of the deceased. 

Mr. Robert Cleland was born in Coatbridge in 1857, 
and served an apprenticeship as an engineer. In his 
twenty-first year he decided to study for the ministry, with 
the view of becoming a missionary in Afinca. He was 
ordained in St. George's Church, Edinburgh, on 29th IMay 
1S87, and sailed from London on 9th June following. 
During his short career of less than three and a half years 
in Africa he founded the mission-station of Chirazulo and 
was pioneer missionary to Mount Milanje. In addition to 
his own work, he took charge of Domasi Mission for sixteen 
months, making good roads and bringing in good water, 


while at the same time labouring with singular consecra- 
tion as a missionary. He was on a tour of inspection on 
Mount Milanje when he was seized with the fever from 
which, five days afterwards, he died at Blantyre. 

Mr. John Bowie, M.B., CM., Avas the son of an esteemed 
citizen of Edinburgh, and was a very distinguished student 
at the University of that city, carrj'ing off the gold medals 
in Physiology, Natural History, Practice of Medicine, &c. 
He had entered on a London practice, and was rising into 
eminence, when he made up his mind to devote his life 
to mission-work in Africa, joining his brother-in-law, the 
Eev. D. C Scott, B.D., at Blantyre. He went out to 
Africa early in the summer of 1887, accompanied by Mrs. 
Bowie. His great skill as a physician and surgeon and his 
true missionary spirit made him a pillar of strength to the 
African Mission, and his death is deeply deplored alike 
by Europeans and natives. Always kind and ready to 
encoiuiter every danger in the path of duty, he died of 
diphtheria, contracted in an attempt to save the life of his 
sister's infant son by sucking the tracheotomy tube when 
the child was dying of that disease. 

Mrs. Henry Henderson, born Harriet Bowie, sister of Di\ 
Bowie and of Mrs. D. C. Scott, was married and went out to 
Africa not much more than two years ago. Of a bright and 
happy nature, with a deep under-current of religious life, and 
as able as she was earnest, she was peculiarly fitted for 
the duties of a missionary's wife. She also died of diphtheria, 
after the death of her only child. Before she died, Dr. Bowie, 
then himself very ill, rose from bed and relieved her suffer- 
ings, though he could not save her life, by performing the 
operation of tracheotomy with all his usual skill. 

Mr. Henry Henderson was a son of the late minister of 
the parish of Kinclaven, and passed through a full Arts 
course at the University of Edinburgh. He was for some 
time in Australia, and there a career was opened to him 


which would probably have led to wealth. But when the 
Church of Scotland proposed to undertake an African 
Mission, he volunteered to be pioneer missionary ; and to 
him is due the selection of the comparatively healthy Shire 
Highlands, now included in the British protectorate, and 
forming a stronghold from which the country can be 
evangelised and civilised. Bereft of wife and child, he set 
out for Europe, taking charge of Mrs. Bowie and Miss 
Beck, and reached Quilimane apparently in good healtli. 
But there he became ill of fever on 9th January, and died 
four days afterwards. 

Of those good and brave missionaries who have thus 
(lied in the mission-field, it can truly be said that there was 
not a thought of self in any one of them; and by laying 
down their precious lives for Africa, they have pledged the 
Church of Scotland to prosecution of their noble enterprise. 

The Assembly expresses its deepest sympathy with the 
widowed mother of Mr. Cleland ; with Mrs. Bowie, senior, 
so sorely bereaved of her children; with the widow and 
young daughter of Dr. John Bowie; with Mrs. David 
Clement Scott; and with the other sorrowing relatives, 
and commends them all to the keeping of Almighty God. 

Extracted from the Eeconls of the General Assembly 
of the Church of Scotland by me, 

^yM. 1Mtlt,igan, 0. Ecdos. Scot. 


Just Published. 
Small Crowu 8vo, price Is. 


By the Kev, J. MURRAY MITCHELL, M.A., LL.D. 

" A gi'aphic and succinct account, statistical and otherwise, of the 
work accomplished by the several Missionary Societies." — Liverpool 

"It is simply astonishing that so clear and comprehensive a 
resume of the methods and conditions of Missionary Enterprise 
should be compressed into such small compass. This book should 
be in the hands of all who are interested in Missions." — Literary 

"A very useful and entertaining little work, giving a general 
glance at the present condition of the different Pagan religions, and 
the results of Christian effort. Dr. Mitchell's remarks on Mahom- 
medanism and Hinduism are interesting in the light of recent con- 
troversy. The book deserves a warm welcome." — Rock. 

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well." — Methodist Recorder. 

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those who have the means wherewith more workers may be sent 
into the field." — Christian, 





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